The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
It’s only his first day of high school, but Arnold “Junior” Spirit has had enough.
His underfunded school is on the Spokane Indian reservation, where Junior’s whole family lives within five miles of where they were born. His mother would have been a teacher, his father would have been a musician, and his sister would have been a romance novelist… if they’d gone to college, if they hadn’t been alcoholics, if they hadn’t been depressed, if they’d had any hope left.
Junior doesn’t have much going for him: a skinny, poor kid with a big head, allergies, bad eyes, a stutter, and a lisp. But he’s the most hopeful person in his family, maybe the most hopeful kid on his reservation, and he doesn’t want to stay on the reservation for the rest of his life. He asks his parents for a transfer to all-white Reardan High, where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Now his best friend thinks he’s a traitor, and the kids at Reardon think he’s a freak. It’s going to be one of the roughest years of his life.
It’s also very funny. Junior’s narration is conversational, ironic, blunt and hilarious, even and maybe especially when his life is the pits. This is such a guy book, complete with hormones, uncouth language and fart noises, and guys attempting to negotiate complicated emotions via fistfights and basketball games. But they are EPIC basketball games, man; they are Shakespearean conflicts on the court.
Book versus audiobook? Here’s the dilemma: the book is illustrated with Junior’s cartoons, but the audiobook is read by Sherman Alexie. Sure, the cartoons add something personal to Junior’s story, but so does hearing it read by the author with gung-ho enthusiasm. Sherman Alexie owns this story. You can’t lose either way.
Check the WRL catalog for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Or check out the audiobook