Review of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
As soon as I started reading Sherman Alexie’s novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, I could tell it would be a great, funny, and well-written book. It was easy to read and really flowed well, and it was exactly my kind of humor (teenage boy humor). Overall, it seems like the target audience for the book would be teenage boys.
Arnold, a.k.a. Junior, is an interesting protagonist because of his geeky and very likable personality. The other thing that made him a great character was his brain problems that we learn about from page 1. He has extra liquid in his brain which makes it clog up and get nasty. The best thing about Arnold is his cartoons which help paint the perfect picture for me. Seeing them every few pages would always bring a smile to my face. They were all throughout the book and were very creative, funny, and well drawn.
Arnold lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation (or in the book they call it the “Rez”) in a town called Welpinit. From what he tells us about Welpinit, it’s a beautiful place full of pine trees and has a big lake that Arnold has swam in. Although people don’t usually swim in it because of an old story told in the book.
The Reardan school is big and coming from the rez it’s supposed to be filled with super smart and athletic wonder kids. Arnold seems quite out of place when he gets there coming from his smaller school at Welpinit. When he tries out for the basketball team there were 40 kids and only room for 24 kids, so 16 had to be cut.
Arnold starts out in the story going to the Welpinit school, but soon after he leaves the rez and switches to the Reardan school consists mainly of not Native Americans but white kids. Soon after the switch he finds a new friend named Gordy. Gordy is probably one of the nerdiest characters in a book that I’ve even read about. He also meets Roger who is the nice and happy version of Rowdy and is the star basketball player for Reardan as Rowdy is the star player for Welpinit.
This book is also great for anyone who loves basketball. It is a very big part of the characters lives because Arnold, Roger, and Rowdy all play throughout the story. You can tell that Alexie knows a lot about basketball. Alexie can make you feel like you’re actually there playing in the game through Arnold's eyes. It was very surprising to me that Arnold played ball because of his geeky personality, being smart and small, but he does play and he plays very well. The tryouts were the opposite of what my town has with the Reardan having tryouts with 40 kids, here we have so few kids everyone gets to play and gets better no matter what their skill level to start was.
Arnold also has a very colorful family in his mom, dad, sister, and grandma. They’re a very poor family living in one house. His mom is very loving and caring for him, as is his father, though his father usually isn’t sober. Throughout the story, Arnold’s narration about his sister doesn't’ reveal much, except that she has graduated from school and lives at home. The grandma is the most dynamic family member in my opinion because she’s funny, she speaks her mind, and her views of the world are both joyful and inspiring.
I highly recommend reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian if you like to play basketball and laugh a lot. I even liked it so much that I have started reading another of Sherman Alexie’s books The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and, so far, neither of these books have disappointed me!