The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian

Written on 7:23 PM by Tushar

This book is a great choice if you are not in a mood to know more about things flattening the world (The world is flat), communism (Animal farm), investing (Rich dad poor dad), racism (How to kill a mockingbird), history (India - The definitive images), self-help (Eat that frog, How to win friends and influence people)…Well maybe I gave you my excuse for picking this one. Regardless of what your excuse is, this is an incredibly fun book to read.

Also since it had the word “Indian” in its title it caught my attention. (I enjoy reading novels or stories with Indian characters). But after browsing through it I figured out that it was a (fictional) diary of a ‘native’ or ‘red’ Indian boy –Arnold Spirit Jr.

Arnold hails from a (red) Indian reservation (he refers to it as ‘rez’) in WA. His life is in a mess and he is so frustrated at God that he wants to ‘kill’ him. He is not particularly attractive, has suffered from a serious brain damage as kid and at a tender age of 14, has attended 42 funerals. His dad is an alcoholic, mom does not have a steady job and sister is a hopeless romantic who has run away to fulfill her fantasies. So he decides to break free from the rez and moves to a ‘all whites’ school in a nearby town.

This move also not very well received by Arnold’s community and he is accused for being a ‘white-lover’. His best friend Rowdy is mad at him for ‘betraying’ the tribe which supposedly has ‘cursed’ the tribe leading to a couple of deaths in his family. He is also having a tough time getting settled in new school which is in town where even cops are so racist that (native) Indian drivers are getting a ticket for DWI (Driving While Indian)!

In such hopeless situation, drawing cartoons is Arnold’s way to vent frustration.

Native Indians were nomadic but now most of them have settled into reservations created by the government. But Arnold Spirit is turning a nomadic again in search of a better life and greener pastures.

The book is really witty and filled with really nice cartoons which accompany the story as seen here.

Great read and Sherman Alexie totally deserves the slew of awards that were bestowed upon him for this book. Recommended!

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  1. Anonymous |

    Been a long time, no new post on your blog?

  2. stari |

    Please start blogging again ...


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