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Teens Review Teen Lit

Friday, July 11, 2014

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

Reviewed By: S.F.
The same day he accidentally breaks his teacher's nose with a twenty year-old geometry textbook, Junior decides to transfer to a new school with more opportunities (also, textbooks published in the last year). The school he selects is off of the reservation ("the Rez") where Junior grew up, about 20 miles away. His friends and neighbors think he's betraying their way of life, and the white, wealthier kids at his new school aren't exactly welcoming him with open arms. In navigating this new world (where everyone calls him by the name on his birth certificate and kids don't punch each other out at the drop of a hat), Junior must figure out how to stay true to his native American roots. Can Junior use his comics and street smarts to make himself a better life?
Why I Picked it Up: This book has been banned ALL OVER the place this year, which automatically makes me want to read it. Also, I had never read a book about a kid who lived on a reservation before, and I wanted to know more about his life.
Why I Finished It: This book was great, also totally tragicomic. Junior is hilarious, but he also has to hitchhike to school sometimes because his dad can't afford to buy gas for the car. This book illustrates some really uncomfortable truths about Indian reservations (widespread poverty, malnutrition, alcoholism) that aren't easy to fix or acknowledge.
I’d Give this Book To: Fans of realistic fiction, coming of age narratives, and anyone looking for a unique hero from a misunderstood background. Also, people who like banned books and want to know why so many adults were scared of this book (if you figure it out, please tell me, because I've got nothing).

**Librarian Side Note** I know it was already mentioned above, but seriously, this book has been routinely banned and challenged for many years now, and we all know that nothing makes a book more enticing that labeling it FORBIDDEN!  Now get out there and check it out!

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