The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian revolves around Junior’s (Arnold) decision to explore life beyond the boundaries of his reservation. Coping with the harsh reality of living in the Spokane Indian Reservation, where poverty and alcoholism has become part of their culture, Junior aspires to lead a different lifestyle. He decides to enroll in an all-white high school 22 miles away from his reservation. This does not solve all of Junior’s problems. He must face the fact that the reservation sees him as a traitor. Because of a birth defect Junior was left with severe physical problems and has been bullied by the other kids, except for Rowdy. However his decision costs him the only friend he has within the reservation. Attending an all-white school is not easy for Junior, but he finds a way to succeed in school, make new friends, and discover his athletic abilities when he joins the basketball team. Arnold allows the reader to experience his challenges, grief, and triumphs through his point of view, thoughts, and drawings. Reluctant high school readers will be able to emphasize with Junior’s sincere and lighthearted narration as they read this award-winning book.
Alexie, S. (2007). The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian. NY: Little Brown.