The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Blurb:

Born poor and with life-threatening hydrocephalus, Arnold "Junior" Spirit shocks doctors by surviving brain surgery. But his enormous skull, lopsided eyes, huge feet, profound stuttering, and frequent seizures make the brain-damaged lad the target of much abuse on the Spokane Indian reservation where he lives.
Protected by a formidable friend, the book-loving artist survives childhood. And then—convinced his future lies of the rez—the bright 14-year-old enrolls in Reardan High School 22 miles away, where the only non-Caucasian is its Indian mascot.

Review:

"Well, life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community."

This book was, somehow, both a hit and miss for me. I've heard about it because of a lecture I attended last year (great lecture, btw, which is why I'm interested in almost all of the books the professor discussed) and, thus, my expectations were a little skewed. The thing is, I don't know what exactly I expected but it wasn't really what I got. Well, yeah, actually, I expected a less "juvenile" book.

Now hear me out. It's not bad that this book is rather youthful and comes at live from a kid/early-teenage-boy perspective. My only problem with it is that the humor completely missed the target for me. That's the miss-part about this book. I joust couldn't find it funny. I recognized when it wanted to be humorous but it never managed to amuse me. This, sadly, includes almost all of the little comic panels that were supposed to be funny. (Another aspect I didn't particularly enjoy was how an eating disorder was treated but I might just be very sensitive when it comes to that topic.)

The hit-part was pretty much the entire rest of the book. Well, kind of. I'm not super overwhelmed by how awesome it was or anything but it was a genuinely good book with an interesting story. And it was nice to see all of the character-development and how the friendships developed. It's not a perfect book, but it's a sweet book even if you have to get through scenes in which a kid gets beat up by a couple of 33 year-olds to actually witness something sweet. Maybe that's the book's point exactly, though.

Rating:

Overall, I'm rating this 4 out of 5 stars.

Details:

Name: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Deutscher Titel: Das absolut wahre Tagebuch eines Teilzeit-Indianers
Author: Sherman Alexie
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Pages: 230
Where?: Amazon (English edition), Amazon (deutsche Ausgabe)

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