The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


Publication Information
Author(s): Sherman Alixie
Art: Ellen Forney
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Release Date: September 12th, 2007

Genre: Fiction

Reading Level: Easy

Target Age: 12-14

Grade Levels: 7-9

Gender: Male/Female

Description of Novel
This novel is a powerful look at what life is like for Native Americans living on reservations. It highlights the struggles that one teen (Arnold) faces in an effort to escape his predetermined destiny to find his own identity. The book deals with some serious issues such as, racism and mentions homophobia, as well as what it is like for a teenage boy who is coming of age. Alcoholism is also major theme throughout the novel, however, it does not glorify it in any way. It also deals with the loss of family and friends such as Juniors grandmother, his sister, his dads friend, and his best friend Rowdy, with whom he makes up with in the end.

The book is definitely a page turner, and something that a student could read pretty easily in a few sittings. The novel also has really short chapters, which makes the book feel like it is going by more quickly. The wording is also easy to read, relevant, and relatable.

Minor Language
Deals with racism and homophobia
Some references to masturbation and erections
Alcoholism is a major theme.

Classroom Use
Core Content/Bookshelf – This book would be a great book to use as a multicultural text in the classroom. Not only is it an extremely interesting, enjoyable, and easy read for all, but it also highlights some serious issues. It addresses what life is like for a lot (not all) of Native Aboriginals on reserves, as well as highlights serious issue such as substance abuse, child abuse, racism, homophobia, bulimia, death, and the list goes on, you name it and this book probably makes mention of it in some way.

Other Suggested Readings
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

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