The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian: By Estefan Carrillo

I know I'm reading a good book when the first couple of pages grab my attention. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part- Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is one of those books. Once I picked the book up it was almost impossible to stop reading as it was simultaneously sad while cheering me up with such funny stories. I saw on the cover of the book all the amazing awards it won from when the book was first published in the USA back in 2007 but I was not prepared at all for what a fun time I would have reading. Usually I’'m not much of a reader.

Sherman Alexie was born to a Spokane Indian mother and a Coeur d’Alene Indian father. Right after his mom gave birth to him they diagnosed Sherman with hydrocephalus (water-on-the- brain) and 6 months later underwent a brain operation from which he was not expected to survive. Despite his early disabilities in life he was at the top of his class and an advanced reader. One of his early educational institutions was a school on the reservation but he then sought a better education during high school at Rearden( a majority white school) where he was a top student and outstanding basketball player. He then moved on to Gonzaga University on a scholarship from where he transferred to Washington State University after two years to study pre-med.

Fainting spells in anatomy class convinced Alexie to change his major, a decision reinforced by a love of poetry and writing. He graduated with a bachelors degree in American Studies and shortly after received the Washington State Arts Commission Poetry Fellowship and the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship.

The book is written in the first person, semi - autobiographical account of a boy named Arnold's life as a Spokane Indian living on the reservation with his family. Arnold's life story starts right from the second you open the book. You expect a kid that is born with an oversized head, oversized hands and feet, bad eyesight seizures and and a lisp among other things to have a terrible life. He is constantly beaten and called names like retard, etc. Having  terrible misfortune continued for him as he is dirt poor and his father is an alcoholic like most Indians on the reservation. Reservation culture didn’t hold high standards and expectations for any of its residents including Arnold  Arnold's life and well being was constantly threatened by bullies some of whom were even adults.

His life was not all sadness however, it had some bright aspects to it also. He had a friend on the reservation named Rowdy, a tough kid who had always been the person that was his bodyguard and knew him since they were both babies. Junior and Rowdy used to love to go to each others houses and read comics books over and over again. No matter how many times they read the comic books they would always laugh at the corny jokes. But the brightest things in Junior’s life were his drawings and basketball. Regardless of life’s challenges, he was able to take out his frustrations & express all his feelings on paper or on the basketball court.

No matter what you went through in life or what your social status is you will connect with this book. We will all go to high school or have gone to high school and had dreams for ourselves that we may or may not have fulfilled due to influences and personal decisions much like what Junior had to experience and go through to complete what he did at the end of the book. We've all been the new kid at school or I know we've all had that weird feeling of wanting to be accepted by everyone on the first day of school.

Alexie, Sherman, and Ellen Forney. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. New York: Little, Brown, 2007. Print.

I chose to create a basketball for the creative part because I thought that when Junior blocked Rowdys shot in the final game of the season, it showed in my opinion that he had grown through out the book and he now had more self confidence and was not afraid to stand up for himself anymore.

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