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

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (unabridged audiobook read by the author; 5 hrs on 5 discs): I’ve never encountered a book so emotional. I went from laughing to crying to laughing in mere minutes. This is a “semi-autobiographical” novel, in that much of what happens to Arnold “Junior” Spirit, the protagonist and narrator, also happened to Alexie as a child. The frankness of a 14-year-old boy was often hilarious, while the tragedy of racism and alcoholism was simply heart-breaking. The ending was hopeful and satisfying, though, and I think this is an important book for children to read to introduce them to another lifestyle, or to remind them that they’re not alone. I’ve never lived near a reservation nor known anyone who lived on one, so this was quite an eye-opening account. I am definitely going to have to track down some of Alexie’s other works.

A note on the audio: It took me about twenty minutes to acclimate to Alexie’s somewhat unusual cadence, but after that it became a wonderful addition to the experience. However, I understand there are illustrations and comics in the actual book, so I’ll have to get my hands on a paper copy at some point.

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