Tuesday, November 13, 2007

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

I hated the start of this book. I've been indulging myself a bit, reading things I wanted to read, so this was a bit of a shock to force myself to pick up and finish one of the RITBA nominee books again, but I'm glad that I did.

Arnold/Junior is growing up on a reservation, with more problems than you could shake a stick at. As a baby, he was hydrocephalic, and as a teen, he is still taunted and picked on and beaten up on a regular basis. His family is saddled with poverty, lost dreams, and alcoholism, and his best friend is increasingly violent and drunk.

After his first day in Geometry class, when the textbook he recieves turns out to have been his mother's, all those years ago, Arnold gets furious at the system which denies him a decent, up to date education, and transfers into a nearby white farm-town highschool. His Indian tribemates resent him for that, and his new classmates treat him horribly, initially, with some painful racist scenes.

I don't want to spoil the book for anyone who might read it, but it ended up being tearjerkingly good. For all that, though, I have to say it felt like a tearjerker from page one. Now, from my posts about the Gilbreth books, one might assume I love a book that makes me cry, but this is not the case. I love a book that makes me cry incidentally, a book that moves me so much by its own weight or character that I find myself weeping despite myself. When I call a book a tearjerker, I mean that I find myself weeping when I am supposed to. Big difference, there.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Quality: 9 Popularity: 8 Overall: 16

No comments: