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

87%

40 Critic Reviews

For 15 years now, Sherman Alexie has explored the struggle to survive between the grinding plates of the Indian and white worlds. He’s done it through various characters and genres, but “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” may be his best work yet.
-NY Times

Synopsis

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 Sherman Alexie

See more books from this Author
Alexie is a poet, novelist, and screenwriter. He has won the Pen/Faulkner Award, Stranger Genius Award in Literature, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature, and the Malamud Award. Alexie lives in Seattle.
 
Published January 10, 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 259 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Children's Books, Comics & Graphic Novels, Sports & Outdoors. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
All: 40 | Positive: 40 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 20 2010

Junior’s keen cartoons sprinkle the pages as his fluid narration deftly mingles raw feeling with funny, sardonic insight.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jan 06 2017

Jazzy syntax and Forney’s witty cartoons examining Indian versus White attire and behavior transmute despair into dark humor; Alexie’s no-holds-barred jokes have the effect of throwing the seriousness of his themes into high relief.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Bruce Barcott on Nov 11 2007

For 15 years now, Sherman Alexie has explored the struggle to survive between the grinding plates of the Indian and white worlds. He’s done it through various characters and genres, but “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” may be his best work yet.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Diane Samuels on Oct 03 2008

Opening this book is like meeting a friend you'd never make in your actual life and being given a piece of his world, inner and outer. It's humane, authentic and, most of all, it speaks.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by fifimonkey on Sep 22 2011

I really enjoyed this book as it taught me to never give up hope. I would not recommend this book to anyone under the age of twelve as the language and storyline can be upsetting.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Diane Samuels on Oct 03 2008

The writing occasionally relies too heavily on the cartoonesque quip, but mostly it is muscular and snappy with a knack for capturing the detail and overview with wrenching spareness.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Gina Ruiz on Aug 29 2007

The wonderful cartoons and drawings by Ellen Forney appear to be pasted onto the pages of his diary, giving it depth and life. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a must have book, and I can't speak highly enough of it.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Gina Ruiz on Aug 29 2007

The wonderful cartoons and drawings by Ellen Forney appear to be pasted onto the pages of his diary, giving it depth and life. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a must have book, and I can't speak highly enough of it.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Oct 01 2007

This is a story about surviving small town schools, which any young adult reader can benefit from. I don't mind telling you that this reader, rather late into young adulthood himself, found Alexie's novel an absolute delight.

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Booklist Online

Good
Reviewed by Ian Chipman on Jan 06 2017

A few of the plotlines fade to gray by the end, but this ultimately affirms the incredible power of best friends to hurt and heal in equal measure. Younger teens looking for the strength to lift themselves out of rough situations would do well to start here.

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The Bookbag

Excellent
Reviewed by Nigethan Sathiyalingam on Jan 01 2015

Within just the first few pages, I found myself completely immersed in Arnold's story, and it pretty much doesn't let up till the very last page.

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BookPage

Good
Reviewed by Katie Lewis on Oct 01 2007

With his perceptive narrator, Alexie deftly taps into the human desire to stand out while fitting in.

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Teen Reads

Good
Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on Apr 01 2009

Knowing that he fought a successful fight against all the things that oppressed him as a kid gives THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN even greater resonance. Hope is indeed the thing with feathers.

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The Horn Book

Good
Reviewed by LAUREN ADAMS on Jan 26 2016

In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie tells Junior’s story with lots of humor but pulls no punches in depicting the brutal truths of alcoholism, poverty, and bigotry both on and off the reservation.

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Cape Ann Beacon

Good
Reviewed by Karen Stern on Nov 25 2012

...this poignant, thoughtful coming-of-age story will appeal to anyone who has ever felt like an outsider or struggled to find yourself - in short, to anyone who has ever come through the rites of passage that take us into adulthood.

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Arts Sarasota

Good
Reviewed by Susan Rife on Jun 04 2011

Arnold, called Junior by all, brings a spectacularly wry and entertaining point of view to his world, which is, in a word, desperate.

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http://yareviews.wikispaces.com

Good
on Jan 06 2017

Both the cartoons and the language capture an authentic voice,enabling us to travel back to our own youth. Alexie's world is stark and real.

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http://yareviews.wikispaces.com

Good
on Dec 03 2016

...the potential to provide a lot of cross-cultural perspective. Teachers looking for a way to incorporate more genres into their students' writing may also use Junior's comics as a model.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Alison Morris on Aug 06 2007

Lest I paint this picture too darkly, though, let me say that The Absolutely True Diary… is ultimately neither depressing nor disturbing. It’s honest. And funny. And wonderfully memorable.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Elina on Jan 06 2017

If your heart breaks as you read this book, chances are you're laughing, too. It really does read like an absolutely true diary: genuine, poignant, in-your-face, and oh-so-real. So, laugh, cry, and love this book as much as I did.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Mank K. on Jan 06 2017

I would recommend this book to any young adult looking for a fun, quick read. The engrossing and comical mixture of Alexie's writing style paired with Ellen Forney's illustrations led The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian to become a National Book Award winner.

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Rhapsody in Books

Excellent
on Dec 20 2009

All the awards for this book were given justifiably. This is a unique and creative contribution to young adult literature. Arnold’s voice seems authentic for his age, and his positive attitude toward the tragedies of his life has much to teach young teens. But even adults won’t be disappointed!

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Before It's News

Good
on Sep 22 2014

I think it's a great young adult book that would appeal to most high school boys. It gets at the issues and concerns that boys that age are dealing with, but it also goes beyond that...

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The Book Smugglers

Good
on Jan 06 2017

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian is unique, raw, funny as hell. A triumph in storytelling, filled with heartbreak but also so much warmth and I can’t recommend it enough.

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The Literary Omnivore

Good
Reviewed by Clare on May 09 2011

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian succeeds wildly by marrying an exploration of deep issues at a human level with a fantastic and identifiable protagonist. A remarkable piece of work.

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Leeswammes' Blog

Excellent
Reviewed by Leeswammes on Dec 15 2011

The whole book is a search for finding a place where Junior can feel at home and use his talents. A wonderful, original, and fast read.

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Sarah Reads Too Much

Good
Reviewed by Sarah Reads Too Much on Jun 25 2015

I love the conversational tone of the writing. It kind of feels like Junior is just sitting with you and telling his story. Some of the lines are so casual at first glance, but speak to deeper meaning and understanding. Also, the illustrations are just wonderful.

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Reading on a Rainy Day

Good
Reviewed by Athira on Sep 29 2011

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was also a really quick and fun read, with a protagonist one would find hard not to like.

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Guys Lit Wire

Excellent
Reviewed by Steven Wolk on Jul 24 2008

Only a special handful of books grab hold of you like a vise grip. They become part of that rarefied pantheon of books that everyone should read. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is one of those books. It should be required reading in every middle school or high school. It is a work of art and an absolute blast to read.

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Good Book Fairy

Good
on Apr 27 2015

Incredible drawings compliment the story as representative of Junior’s art abilities. I recommend this book to everyone!

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http://roofbeamreader.com

Above average
on Jun 19 2011

A bit of depth could have been added to the major characters and possibly a selection of the secondary characters, which would have created more meaningful relationships and possibly allowed for greater growth and development in general, but overall it was well done.

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Boston Bibliophile

Good
Reviewed by Marie Cloutier on Sep 27 2010

Ellen Forney's comic-like illustrations, which pepper the story, are cute and sweet and darkly funny. I burned through it in about three days over the summer when I was home sick and can't think of a better way to spend time than reading this lovely gem of a book.

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Savvy Verse & Wit

Good
Reviewed by SERENA on Feb 29 2016

I like the narration of the book, hence the title. That was different than the typical read. Gave it a different feel from a story being told. Even with the racial divide in the story that the boy dealt with, I think this story is very relatable to other young adults out there...

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Early Nerd Special

Excellent
Reviewed by Clementine Bojangles on Dec 08 2011

Seriously, if you haven’t read this: what are you waiting for? Highly, highly recommended. Smart, funny, and important for all readers.

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YA Love

Good
Reviewed by MRS. ANDERSEN on Oct 04 2012

If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend that you do. We added it to our freshman curriculum last year which turned out to be a huge success.

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Read. Breathe. Relax.

Excellent
Reviewed by Lisa Parkin on Jan 17 2014

This is a book I would have loved to have read in high school. It’s eye-opening and raw. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian will expose you to a culture not often highlighted in literature, and to a young boy’s experience that is totally and endearingly relatable.

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The Compulsive Reader

Good
Reviewed by The Compulsive Reader on Jul 06 2014

His use of humor and irony makes his story a little easier to read about (though not much), but it also provides an access point between Alexie and the reader, a way for the reader to develop empathy for Junior. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian should be on everyone’s reading list.

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https://yareviews.wikispaces.com

Good
on Jan 06 2017

Junior discusses the things that run through the heads of many students his age. This book will definitely latch onto its readers, and it won't let go until they've read every last page.

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Mother Daughter Book Club

Good
Reviewed by Cindy Hudson on Jan 28 2009

Arnold’s story is for anyone who chooses to follow a different path than the one clearly laid out before him. Issues of race, friendship, love and community should provide great discussion for mother-daughter book club members.

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Kate Messner

Excellent
on Jan 13 2008

Sherman Alexie is brilliant. But you probably already knew that. This week, I finally got to read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Wow. Just wow.

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Reader Rating for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
89%

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