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Words of a Bibliophile

"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie, Ellen Forney

This was a very quick read. I found the reading level a little lower than I expected compared to some of the YA books I've read. It was partly because of the writing style with the short paragraphs, but also a lot of developments in the story felt simplified or shortened, making it seem a bit slice-of-life in a way. The main conflict of the story is how the 14-year-old Arnold Spirit a.k.a. Junior becomes a "part-time Indian" by going to an all-white school outside his tribe's reservation in a bid to better himself, but I felt I read less about his studies than about him being part of the school's basketball team.

Overall I liked the book, though. I don't really know much about Native American Indians, and their portrayal in what little I've come across in books, TV and movies often focuses more on their spiritual beliefs or myths/legends. So it was eye-opening to see from the inside what real life is like on a reservation. There's a lot of hopelessness in this book with all the poverty, alcoholism, violence and lack of education, but at the same time it also offers hope.