Book Review


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Review – Sherman Alexie’s Emotional and Attaching Novel That You Need to Read


5/5 stars


Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, mimics his own life, and the writing style feels like a memoir. It is about a young boy, struggling through life on a Native American reservation in Washington. It is a coming-of-age novel that has enjoyable characters, a deep coming of age driven plot, mixed with comedic and entertaining dialogue.


Sherman Alexie is a tremendous writer who writes realistic stories from his own experiences. He began his writing career with short stories and poems. One of his most illustrious works is The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven, which is a book filled with many of his connected shorts stories, somewhat like vignettes, and are comprised of one central theme: Native Americans fighting for their lives, against the stereotypes of the world, against racial prejudice and expectations. Another one of his short stories, “Smoke Signals, which was later turned into a movie, was also related to this same theme. Alexie is a distinguished writer who has won many awards, including the National Book Award for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a book about a young boy named Arnold living on a Spokane reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. The book follows the protagonist through his struggles from being trapped on the reservation because he knows nothing else, to life outside the reservation, and eventually finding a balance between both worlds. The book is expertly crafted. It stresses themes of socioeconomic status, and class in society. It is demonstrated continuously throughout the book. It also describes the racial backgrounds, and the stereotypes that accompany being Native American. These themes are shown through the illustrations,  realistic scenarios that move the plot along, and the interaction of the characters.


Arnold is a character that struggles because of his race. He is a Native American on a reservation, where he is trapped from everything else in life. He knows he needs a better life, because the rez is there to “kill the Indian and save the child.” The schools in the reservation are there to kill his culture, to kill everything about him except him. He has an epiphany of  how he needs to escape, but because of his culture, and his racial background, stereotypes indicate that he should forever be in the reservation. In his fight to get out the reservation, he struggles with his own people, and his betrayal of his people. He faces the wrath of his own people. He also struggles with the stereotypes that they have put on themselves, the same way the whites have  placed stereotypes on them. But he decides that he should test the boundaries and the limits of these expectations. He would travel out of the reservation, into the unknown world, a voyage that would bring a new balance to his life. Arnold would not capitulate to the stereotypes of the world.


But Alexie does not only reference the destruction of the reservation. He references the culture, and how fabulous it is. The pow-wow found in “Revenge in is My Middle Name,” points out both the positive and the negative of his cultural and racial background. It is a nice balance of positive and negative, highlighting what he wants you to see, a truthful balance. His grandmother is one of the best examples of the the positive of the reservation. She is always there for him.


Arnold also struggles with his socioeconomic status. He is stuck on a reservation, where there is little to no way to have a sustainable income. Throughout his childhood,  he does not care about how wealthy he is. But when his dog dies, he suddenly realizes what the repercussions of his poverty are. Because of this awakening, he is ashamed of his socioeconomic status; he is in the bottom class, and this affects him negatively. At his school, he constantly hides his poverty from everyone else because he is scared of what they will think. The illustration on page 88 describes this perfectly. It shows how difficult it is for Arnold to just get to school. The same is demonstrated in “Dance, Dance, Dance.” He practices what he would say because he did not want anyone to discover his poverty. But when they finally discovered his poverty, he realized that no one cares; he was one of them, and they did not care that he was poor.


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a book that is filled with struggles, triumphs, and a journey through life. It is a fantastic book for any age, culture, and belief. It is a realistic novel that can satisfy your comedy needs and it gives you someone that you can connect with, a relatable figure. It is a book does that does not let you stop reading. Everything draws you in, the characters, the story, the illustrations. It is a fabulous and it is a great read.


My First Job Dairy

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(House on Mango Street)

Dear Dairy,

        That was the weirdest and the scariest experience ever. That was very strange. It was my first job, working for the Peter Pan Photo Finishers. I was finishing up my shift, when a some man came up to me. I assumed he would be much more caring to me than he actually was. He had very nice eyes, and he acted like he would be my friend. He even told me that I could sit with him during lunch, in which earlier I had just eaten fast and hid. That was my first example of being naive. When I hid, I was not trying to conquer new things, I was still very childlike in reverting to the only thing I new what to do, which was to hide.

        I  was also very naive when he asked for a birthday kiss. I had no idea what he could do that would be different. Looking back, I was in a blur which was caused by my naiveness. I did not remember what Mr. Benny had said, about how looking like a woman both brings a new look, but also the threats to me. So I just went to kiss him, and I got what I should have been expecting. As soon as he pulled my head, I knew  had made a mistake. He refused to let go, he was doing something to me that I should have been aware of. I was traumatized by what this happened. I felt defenseless. He was trapping me in my innocence and I didn’t no what to do, because of how old he was and how I had never had one of these encounters. Young woman get molested and sexually abused the most, because of there innocence and them not understanding threats. I was scared, because something like this had never happened before. I was growing up, so I had been looked at, and commented on, but never anything near threatening. He did not even ask if he could. I am getting older, but there is still some things that I need to be aware of. When I look older, and when I act older, and do things that older people do, I am faced with the threats of abuse, especially sexually. So I always need to be careful not to grow naive to situation like this and be more aware of myself and what is happening around me.

          I was not aware, and I should’ve been, because I had learned about this same thing earlier on Mango Street, when we got the new shoes. We were looked on, and the same exact experience happened to Rachel, except we were there to protect her. But that does not always happen in life. We need to learn to defend ourselves, because there is not always someone to watch your back. I was naive in that moment, and know I have learned from my mistake. I dressed up like a woman, I acted like a woman, and I got the consequences of when a woman is naive. I was not ready for it, but now I will be, because it has happened before. 

Yours Truly,


Where I Am From

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Based on George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From”

I Am From Poem


I am from basketballs.

From Nike and missed shots, a constant struggle to win.

I am from the hill outside the house,

(Massive , vertical , it looked like a mountain in a valley.)

I am from the forests in my backyard,

The enormous deciduous trees behind my house that sent evil shadows into my bedroom window.


I’m from the Christmas eve at Taco Bell and the athlete sense of my family

From Amstutz and Grierson

I’m from socializing and the alone time in my room.

From “Nerds were for dads” and “You can’t eat jerky till your 10”. I’m from Sundays spent at church, and the Friday morning disciples with my siblings

I’m from Illinois cornfields and Lisa and Tony’s leg.  

I am from the vegan for a year, and empanadas on Sundays after church.


From the 21k struggle with my father

From dad working in the smelly factory in the early mornings.

The pictures, hiding in the scrapbooks under the shelf.

The history of us, all in a book, the memories of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

News Article

Thrilling Chase Ends in New Inmate

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An image taken of the cadillac before the chase took place. The Yellow Cadillac had nice right rugs and leather seat. It was eventually crashed into a lamp post.

Today, a young Puerto Rican male who lives on Mango Street stole a nice yellow Cadillac. He had driven to Mango Street where his friends and cousins were outside playing volleyball. He spent lots of the afternoon driving his sisters, cousins, and friends around the Mango Street neighborhood, a full seven laps. The juvenile heard the sirens from a distance, and then stopped the car. He got the passengers out of the car, and took of in a yellow blur, with a red and blue blur of the police sirens racing after him. The young man tried to make a hard left turn, but his car was too wide for the alley, so he crashed into a light post. The young delinquent received only minor wounds, a bruised forehead and a bloody lip. He was put into handcuffs and put in the cop car. The children waved to their brother as he was driven away in the cop car.

Questioning My Own Bias

A man had brought a Yellow Cadillac to Mango Street. The man was a Puerto Rican male. He had brought a nice yellow Cadillac to the alley on Mango Street. The car was a nice Cadillac, with white walls and white rugs. An eyewitness saw him take his cousins for a few laps. The police had tracked him to Mango Street. When the police found the car, the man had minor wounds, a bloody nose and a bruised forehead. He was dragged of in handcuffs by the police. According to eyewitnesses, the male had dropped his cousins off after taking the car around for a few laps, and then took off. He tried to make a hard left turn, but ended up crashing into the lamppost where he was found.

Who Do You Think You Are?





Dear Cathy,

I am writing this letter discussing the conversation we had a few days ago. Personally, it made very upset. You acted like you were above everyone in this neighborhood, including me. An example of this is when you were constantly stating that you were related to the queen of France. You mentioned it at the beginning of the conversation, when you stated that, “I am the great great grand-cousin of the queen of France. ” Another example of this was when you said that, “Your father will have to will have to fly to France one day and find their great great distant grand cousin on her father’s side and inherit the family house. ” This made me feel inferior to you, like you were so above me. It was very rude to do something like that, especially if you claim to be their friend.

You also acted like everyone in the neighborhood was extremely rude to others. You called Joe a “A baby-grabber” You described the two girls as “raggedy as rats.” I have me these two girls, Rachel and Lucy. These are my very good friends, they are friends unconditionally, unlike you. This made me feel extremely upset, because you are judging them based on what you can just see, not what you know about them. This tells me you judge everyone the same way, judging the book by the cover.  You explained that Alicia has been stuck-up ever since college. This made me feel like that you judged everyone in this neighborhood with the same rude, derogatory comments. The way you described Alicia, stuck-up, is quite similar to how you acted when you describe everyone else. You acted above everyone else, being superior to them, even if that is not the case. You described Benny and Blanca as ok, but no don’t lean on the candy counter. What you are basically saying is a metaphor about how they can get extremely upset at times. This comment is very derogatory, and me feel like how you felt that everyone was rude to you.

You need to think more about what you are saying before you say it. An example of this is when you told me that, “You want a friend….Okay, I’ll be your friend. But only till next Tuesday. That’s when we move away.” That is not real friendship, because friendship is showing loyalty and trying to connect even if you are far away. As well, friendship is not a show of sympathy. I don’t want a friend who is only my friend because she believes that “I need a friend.” Just to review, make sure you are aware of what you are saying.

Best Regards,


Border Crossing Review


Border Crossing, Maria Colleen Cruz’s realistic-fiction novel demonstrates the need to gain knowledge about ones individual identity by learning more and reflecting about your cultural identity.

      The plot was very engaging. It was descriptive, and had enough confusion to make you want to understand it more and more. It is necessary so that they can draw in a reader. The title page,with the title, Border Crossing, the author, Maria Coleen Cruz, and the image of the the family running. It drew in a reader. The plot was not predictable. At one point you assumed that Cesi was going to get extremely in trouble with her father, but her father did not get her in trouble at all. It was not predictable at all, but I felt like the plot had little holes, like how much of a coincidence it was. But in general, it did not have anything very predictable

When I first began reading border crossing, I was immediately drawn into the conflict between Cesi regarding her cultural identity and what her own individual identity was. I was engaged almost immediately. But it still was a little confusing at the beginning, because I was not used to the constant changing of setting from her learning about her cultural identity to her traveling to Mexico, and then back to what made her decide to go to Mexico.

       Some of the relationships between characters are interesting. One of the ones I found was between Cesi, and her brother Max. They understood each other, even though they were not similar at all. They both wanted to know about their past, even though Cesi was more interested in it than Max, but they both want to learn more. They also both have questions about way their dad never taught them any Spanish. Also the relationship between Tony and Cesi is interesting, but to coincidental. They both had different views over Mexicans, but the fact that they were related was to much of a coincidence. Some of the characters in the story remind me of people I know. One of them is Tony. Tony is a strong minded individual who was easily distracted. As well, he very much felt connected and defended his culture just like Tony did to Cesi when Cesi stated that “I can’t believe I trusted these people,”which she stated after her money was stolen.

       Cesi did mature over the entire story. She went from not understanding anything at all about her culture, to be extremely knowledgeable on many parts of it. She did learn more about herself. Some of these things was her learning about what troubles her father went through. She was mainly focused in her identity, and she found more about that. She did mature throughout the book.

      The book structure is very unique. First it had a chapter about the present, but then it had a chapter from the past. It does shift from past to present for the majority of the book, but towards the end it sticks to present. The author chose the way she told the story to let us understand what Cesi’s motivations to her actions were, and what those actions were. It began to let us understand her actions, and what happened because of those actions in the future. Cruz used this style because we do not know how Cesi’s past was, and it was a very good way to show  that.

The author explains multiple things that could possibly be themes. One of these is the impact of understanding your cultural identity to form your individual identity. This was shown during the entire story telling sequence on page 95 to page 100 when Aunt Delfina tells Cesi and Tony the story about her Cesi’s father. It is also shown during when Cesi goes to the library to do some research before hand about her cultural identity. She does use some symbols to reinforce the main ideas. She uses the alter, or “ofrenda” as used in the story, as symbolism.

The dialog on pages 90 to 100 is very profound. It describes the troubles that Aunt Delfina and Cesi’s father goes through in school. It was important because it gives Cesi the understanding of what happened to her father. A key thing that was stated in this section was the entire page 97 to 98. It describes the teacher assuming that Cesi’s father is a thief, and that it was not him. That describes the theme very well.

I think it is sort of satisfying. The reason I think this is because of how many coincidence were needed to make this entire story happens. The way that Tony and Cesi end up being related. How Tony brings Cesi to his Aunt Delfina’s house, who was friends with Cesi’s father. They very end was very nice, bringing in her last grandfather, but I would change the coincidences.

I would ask her why she chose to write the book from someone going into to Mexico from the U.S, when normally you think about crossing the border from Mexico. I think it inspires me to read other books from the same author about the same or similar concepts because of how different this one’s perspective is on the world around us. It is showing how their is more than just illegal immigration when it comes to the border, it is also people trying to explore and learn more about themselves.