The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Hands-down, one of the best books I’ve read.
This largely auto-biographical tale set on the Spokane Indian Reservation
combines humor and tragedy into a highly impactful story. Told through
first-person narrative and cartoons, Junior describes his days on the rez but
also how life changes when he decides to attend the local white high school. In
one community he becomes an outcast while in the other a curiosity.  Junior struggles to figure out where he
belongs in this collision of worlds.

— Kelsey Yocum

Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
by Sherman

a brilliant story about a young boy who refuses to live down to the
expectations of the people surrounding him.  Junior makes the difficult
choice to go to school off the reservation, to put himself in an unfamiliar and
difficult situation in order to achieve more than is expected of him.  Set
on the Spokane Reservation, the book has a northwest feel.  A work of
fiction based somewhat on Sherman Alexie’s life, the story is told in language
teenagers will understand and affirms that with struggle it is possible to
reach your potential. What parent wouldn’t be uplifted by this message? 
It has won both the National Book Award and the PNBA award.  Yet it is a
frequently banned book.

— Deon Stonehouse

Arnold Spirit aka Junior is prompted by a teacher to better
himself, so he transfers to the rich white school off the reservation. He finds
himself an outcast both on the reservation and at his new school. Born with
water on the brain he suffers from many lingering physical and medical
complications, yet he manages to develop into a sure shot on the basketball
court. This talent helps him to find his place in his new school and deal with
his fractured family and the continual negative influence of alcoholism on
those he loves. A beautifully told coming of age story that holds a message for
young and old alike.

— Carol Foisset


Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike.

About the Author

A National Book Award-winning author, poet, and filmmaker, Sherman Alexie is one of the most well-known and beloved literary writers of his generation. His works of fiction, including The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Reservation Blues, and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, have received numerous awards and citations. He lives in Seattle. Like Thunder Boy Jr., Sherman was named for his father.

Praise For…

"This is a gem of a book....may be [Sherman Alexie's] best work yet."—New York Times

"A Native American equivalent of Angela's Ashes."—(starred review), Publishers Weekly

"Sure to resonate and lift spirits of all ages for years to come."—USA Today

"Realistic and fantastical and funny and tragic-all at the same time."—(starred review), VOYA

"The line between dramatic monologue, verse novel, and standup comedy gets unequivocally-and hilariously and triumphantly-bent in this novel."—(starred review), Horn Book

"Nimbly blends sharp with unapologetic emotion....fluid narration deftly mingles raw feelings with funny, sardonic insight."—Kirkus Reviews, (starred review)

"Few writers are more masterful than Sherman Alexie."—Los Angeles Times

"Alexie's humor and prose are easygoing and well suited to his young audience."—Booklist

"Fierce observations and sharp sense of humor...hilarious language."—Newsday

"Breathtakingly honest, funny, profane, sad....will stay with readers."—(starred review), KLIATT

"What emerges most strongly is Junior's uncompromising determination to press on while leaving nothing important behind."—(starred review), BCCB

"[Alexie] has created an endearing teen protagonist in his own likeness and placed him in the here and now."—Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Deftly taps into the human desire to stand out while fitting in."—BookPage

"Exceptionally good....Arnold is a wonderful character."—Miami Herald
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316013697
ISBN-10: 0316013692
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 1st, 2009
Pages: 288
Language: English