The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie: 3.5/5

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Arnold is American Indian who lives on a reservation. When he transfers to a primarily white, off-reservation school, he feels like he doesn't fit in anywhere—and his family and community seem to be falling apart. This story is part book, part comic, and all heart. [Image shows a cartoon boy holding a cartoon drawing of himself] Arnold is funny and resilient, and the comics are wonderful. Sometimes the sheer amount of tragedy can be over the top.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie

Buy New $11.19 | Best Price $3.63

Challenged for: “offensive language, racism, religious viewpoint, sex education, sexually explicit, violence, unsuited to age group.”
I am never going to agree with reducing access to books, so I doubt you would find it worthwhile for me to nitpick each reason given for doing so. But I will say, it seems very backward to me that a book is challenged for “racism” not for promoting racism, but for depicting it being perpetrated against a character. Are we just supposed to pretend it doesn’t exist?!

Good for: Many people have found this book extremely compelling. It has a good story about overcoming prejudice and hardship and finding a place to belong, and the fact that it is told in both prose and comics makes it a good pick for reluctant readers. But Alexie’s other young adult novel, Flight, was more to my particular taste.

This book review was posted in Banned Books Week, Comics & Graphic Novels, Middle Grade Fiction and given a book rating of /5. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie: 3.5/5

  1. Brian Marino says:

    Sigh, always with the accusations of some sort of “ism” when the author is simply presenting these things as existing or being bad. Like how “Mad Men” was called sexist or misogynist, for sympathetically portraying women who live in a sexist and misogynist time.

    And oh no! Sex education!

    • Audrey says:

      The book that I’m reviewing Wednesday was challenged for “sexism,” and after reading it I honestly have no idea what that means. Does someone think the book is sexist? Does someone think it portrays sexism? Why do they think these things? I thought I was pretty good at noticing sexism but apparently I’m wrong about that.

  2. Jeremy Beck says:

    Amazing how quickly people call racism, sometimes for even discussing race or racial issues. Progress can’t be made without discussing the problems that exist; ignoring them won’t make them go away.

    • Audrey says:

      Exactly! I think it’s crazy when people challenge things like Huckleberry Finn, for example (or alter the text to remove the things they don’t like).

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