The Absolutely True Diary if a Part-time Indian
by Sherman Alexie
Junior is a budding cartoonist from the reservation. He always felt like an outcast and was looking for ways to make himself feel like he belongs in the community.
This is the first novel I have read that had a Native American teenager narrator. I find this a refreshing read, and very insightful. The truth is, I have no idea what life is like for Native Americans and reading this gave me a brief idea of their culture and the challenges they still face in modern America.
I am surprised that this book faced backlash from conservative parents who feel that the story is too vulgar, depicts violence, bullying and alcoholism. This is a story of a fourteen year-old. The things discussed in the book are not entirely new to them (thanks to the internet). Maybe I just do not see what they see because everything I have read looks fine for young adults. It did have moments of adult content but not entirely explicit for a today’s teens. It does discuss the challenges Junior face but does not glorify violence, alcoholism, racism, and erotica.
This is a book which yells inclusivity. It’s a story of a young Native American boy who wishes to explore the world away from the comforts of his tribe. It encourages the youth to not be afraid, to take a leap especially when the opportunity presents itself on a silver platter.