Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

One day, in the not too distant past, a group of students and I were discussing books and movies, and which is better in their opinion. Because several of my students in the discussion are Native American, we turned to movies such as "Smoke Signals", a modern tale about Native American life and experiences. One student said the movie reminded him of a book he does like, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian". He asked if I had read it, and I replied that I had not. The student brought the book to me the next day; he said he wasn't a big "reader" but he liked this book and wanted my opinion. I saw a name on the cover that I instantly recognized from my literature classes, and one I had not had a great connection to thus far: Sherman Alexie. I had always found his writing to be so negative, but, I took it home and later that evening, I cracked it open. I inhaled this book. It was at once poignant and hilarious; moving and thought-inspiring, yet not difficult to read. This is the story of a young man trying to better himself and become visible in the world, rather than being satisfied to live out the stereotypes of generations of his people. If you are a fan of Alexie's work, you'll love this book. If you are not, this book will change your mind. I have rated it with five out of five stars on my Goodreads list. Check it out!

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