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.


Reaction Paper

I personally disagree with the decision, for as it states in the article, “The current themes for 2nd term language arts classes in Biloxi this year are the Golden Rule and taking a stand. With “To Kill A Mockingbird” specifically, the teens were slated to learn that compassion and empathy are not dependent upon race or education.” This means that they are taking away a key reference to help support that theme by taking it out of the system.


The paper, “Why Did Biloxi Pull To Kill a Mockingbird from the 8th Grade,” which is written by Karen Nelson, on the Sun Herald, discusses the pulling of the popular and controversial book, To Kill a Mockingbird, from their 8th Grade lesson plan. It was said to be an administrative decision, orchestrated by the leaders in the school system – not the school board. The school decided to pull the book because, in the words of Kenny Holloway, “There were some complaints about it. There is some language in it that makes people feel uncomfortable, and we teach the same lesson in other books…It’s still in our library. But they’re going to use another book for the 8th Grade course.” It is a core piece of the ELA, the English Language Arts.


It is one of the worst examples of censorship that we have ever seen. As stated in the article, “The reader said, ‘I think it is one of the most disturbing examples of censorship I have ever heard, in that the themes in the story humanize all people regardless of their social status, education level, intellect, and of course, race. It would be difficult to find a time when it was more relevant than in days like these.’” It is a topic that is incredibly important in today’s world, and as well as in their own schooling systems. As previously stated, the school stressed themes of taking a stand, which is demonstrated in To Kill a Mockingbird. It is taking away what they call a key theme in there schooling system. 

Poetry Friday – On the Stage

Coming of age

impacts everything

for  good or for bad,


In my life

coming of age,

changed one thing

that changed me.


My voice


a lead singer, a long line holder,

a leader


On a stage

Wednesday at 6

the leader,

The soprano,

the girly voice,


with the high voice

the bird in the clouds.


But now

so deep

First a alto,

Then a baritone,

The glottal sounds are gone

The registers of my voice changed

as deep as the ocean

still a leader,

but not high.


When school came

friends are shocked

my voice,

is so deep


Slice of Life Thursday: Independence



Independence is a great thing. It lets us be our own selves. It is something that can be incredibly positive, but also incredibly negative. It can lead to fights, between my siblings or my parents. It can lead to disagreements between friends. And it can just lead to doing things that you would not normally do. Yesterday afternoon, I experienced this first hand. It was just getting home from school, just upset about life. I started to talk to my mom. We talked about my day, and how upset I was. Then I truly experienced what it was like to have a disagreement over some really dumb thing. I over exaggerated about how how you are supposed to organize your money. It was dumb, me not being aware that people are smarter than me. It is a way that I have been coming of age.

Confession Tuesday

I am a pretty normal 8th grade boy, in what I like and what I dislike. I like video games, sports, and things of that nature.  I dislike “girly” things. But I have a few strange dislikes. I loathe styrofoam, because of its affects on the environment, and because of that gruesome sound it makes. It is the same thing for balloons. But there is something even stranger that makes me shrink into my chair. It is something that every human owns two of, whether they work or not. It is called eyes. I do not like looking close up at eyes and eyeballs.

One of the reasons I dislike eyes is based on the statement: eyes are the window to the soul. I know I do not want people staring into my soul. My soul is private, and I am a person who values privacy. The fact that you can tell what mood I am in, how I am feeling, if something is wrong both scares me and makes me want whomever is looking at me to stop. If you want to figure out how I am feeling, why don’t you just ask how I am feeling. That would make me happier.

Another reason why I dislike eyes is experiences I have had with my eyes. One reason is my fear of becoming blind. That fear is somewhat rational, but that makes me hate eyes for scaring me so much, which is strange. So I always take heed to my eyes, make sure everything is okay. Another thing that happened to me regarding eyes is that I had pinkeye, during a vacation. What pinkeye is is it is a sickness that causes your eyes to get all crusty, and then get red. It is incredibly gross, both to have on you and to look at.

Another reason I dislike eyes is my 7th grade eyeball dissection. It was one of the grossest things I have ever done in my life. I was aghast at purely how disgusting your eye looks. It looks absolutely appalling in every way. All the different parts, squirted one the tray, it was gross that it was ever an eye, even if it was only a cow’s eye.

The final reason I dislike eyes is how much I have to look at them. Sometimes when I see or do something enough, a begin to get used to them. Something like this is when I had to get used to pants because of school. But eyes have not grown on me like that. Every tends to think that I have beautiful eyes – I do not know what that means – so I have to look at people’s eyes so much. Overall, they just bug me so much, and I am still not truly sure what caused this.

Memoir Monday



My Split Head

“Why can’t we go see daddy’s friends?” I questioned my mom as she brought me and Chloe into her bedroom.

” They are talking, so you are just going to stay in my room.” My mother responded. “You are going to have a lot of fun with Chloe. Just find something to do.”

“Okay Mom.” I responded after a few grunts and sighs. She walked back to where my father was sitting. He was having all of his co-workers over for dinner. I went into my mom’s room with Chloe, my older sister.

“So, what do you want to do!” I eagerly asked Chloe. “Do you want to play pretend? Or do you want to watch TV?”

“Why don’t we play a new and different game. ” She suggested. I thought that was a fabulous idea. She continued by explaining to me that we were going to play a game called “boo.”I asked her what that meant. She told me that we were going to jump on my mother’s massive California King size bed, and try to scare each other.

So there I was. I got to go first, because I was younger. So I went up there and made the scariest face I could make. But it did not work. She wasn’t scared. I was so distraught that I didn’t scare her. It was than Chloe’s turn. I started to bounce. Unknown to me, I was jumping fairly close to the side of a bed. So Chloe leaped onto the bed and tried to scare me. It worked. In fact, it worked so well that I fell off the bed onto my mom’s bed stand.

I ended up breaking into my head. I had to interrupt what my father was doing so he could help me. He brought me to the hospital and my head was medically glued back together. It is interesting how things that are so painful when it happens sounds so cool looking back. I learned that I should be careful in whatever I am doing, because I don’t want that to happen again.

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Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark

     Why won’t grandma play with me?, I asked my grandmother. He is just tired, she answered. I snuck in the room he is always in, in the big, brown, broken down chair squinting at the tv.

    Grandpa, always in the large room, the one with memories of 18 cousins watching Charlie Brown. The Illinois couch, the one I watch him on. He doesn’t have a flat screen, he as an ancient box tv. The tv, without cable, only the networks. The tv where the only channel I watch is the basketball one. The tv always playing the pixelated basketball while he sleeps.

He is a basketball player. He is a tough father, they say. But now he is in the big, brown chair, with my grandmother to his right. She is always there to get him water, to turn the fan on, to turn the tv up, and to protect him. My grandpa, always asking for things. My grandpa, tough as nail, never crying or complaining. My grandpa is a preacher. Always at his small, local church on Sundays. The church that wouldn’t have a life without him. Always up at 6, praying to see the Lord’s will. He raised his kids to be like him, a servant of the Lord. But the chair has stopped that. My grandpa is a worker, they say. Always in the factory with my father, working the line. My grandpa, fixing his house to stop the leaks. My grandpa who always sits on the big, brown chair watching the Big Ben. Grandpa, who has the Illinois gear, the poster of 2004. My grandpa, who celebrates with me when the pixels score on the network 3 of 20.

      My grandpa, in the dark room, who raised my father to be a great father. My grandpa, trapped in the cell of his illness, always sitting in the brown Simmons chair, with the box tv on while he sleeps.