Thursday, December 30, 2010

Recent Reading: Sherman Alexie's "Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian"

Sherman Alexie is one funny man. His books are sharply observed, clever and irreverent, a verbal roller coaster of contemporary Native American consciousness.

His 2007 young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, is no exception. It's hilarious, honest, heart-breaking and ultimately redeeming. The book is not for the squeamish, which is to say that it speaks frankly about the problems of adolescence (read: sex).

Alexie's hero is Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, a Spokane Indian, who leaves his reservation school for the nearby all-white school. The transition is brutal and sometimes sad, but Junior rises to the many challenges of his new environment.

If that's not enough of an enticement to read True Diary, consider the prizes it has won. There's the National Book Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner, BookSense #1 Pick, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and many other prizes and awards.

And if the awards don't impress, remember where we started: Sherman Alexie is funny.

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