“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is a fun, educational book


Rachel Walters, Reporter

Sherman Alexie’s most well-known book “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is humorous and educational. It’s an autobiographical book where Alexie portrays himself through the main character Junior and writes about his childhood as an American Indian living on a reservation where everyone is poor and all the kids go to the same school. His sister had been living in their parent’s basement ever since she graduated high school not wanting to do anything mainly because people like them never got the same opportunity as white kids do to go to college and further their education to make something out of their lives.

Junior, a poor American Indian living on a Spokane Reservation dreams of going to college and living his life not in poverty. On the first day of high school, Junior was very excited to learn until he opened up his math book to realize that what was written on the inside cover was his mom’s name. He lost hope because of that 30-year-old textbooks when they can’t even afford new school supplies. Junior threw his book at his teacher and hit him square in the face which got him suspended. Despite his actions Junior received a visit from his teacher telling him he needs to leave the reservation so he can have a better education and have a hopeful future. He becomes conflicted because if he leaves the reservation he would be considered a traitor but if he stays there is less hope for his future.

American Indians were forced to live on these small reservations so they’d be hidden away from the dominant society. Often America likes to forget about the history of American Indians and pretend like it never existed. White colonizers forced American Indian children to boarding schools where they involuntary learned how to read, write, and speak English. These children were also stripped of their possessions, clothes and were given English names.

This book teaches the reality of poor Native Indian kids living on a reservation that still exists today. Most are not able to afford new school supplies and are barely able to just get by. Some days Junior couldn’t even eat dinner because they couldn’t afford the food. Even though it is a sad reality, Alexie adds humor to the story to lighten the mood and the narrative of the story is very confrontational. I highly recommend this book because before reading it and learning the history of Indians, I had no idea about the reality of it and how America refuses to admit to its own history. I give this book 4 out of 5 eagles.