The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, a novel, by Sherman Alexie


Author Sherman Alexie’s has brought us an important story and meaningful look at real life today. This is a great book for everyone

Arnold Spirit Jr. tells us about his life as an Indian on the Spokane Reservation.  He was born with excess spinal fluid on the brain which he survived but he was left with a lisp and a stutter. He was far-sighted in one eye and near-sighted in the other. He is considered a geek. The other kids have bullied him growing up.  

Everyone was poor on the reservations, but Arnold said of his parents: “My parents came from poor people who came from poor people who came from poor people, all the way back to the very first poor people.”

As a 14-year-old high school freshman rather than going outside where he was teased and beaten up, he spends a lot of time in his room drawing cartoons which illustrate much of this story. “I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods,” he says, “and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.”

A teacher at school is the cause of Arnold being suspended from the reservation school. The teacher goes to his home and gives him a piece of advice: He tells him to get out of the reservation school saying  that he can do better. “The only thing you kids are being taught is how to give up,” the teacher says. Arnold transfers to Reardan High, 22 miles away in a small town full of wealthy white kids.

He excels in the new school, getting good grades and doing well on the basketball team.  He is half in a white environment and still half on the reservation dealing with its everyday realities

The author* shows us what hope is and why it grows with encouragement and environment.  A great book.

  • Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, was born in 1966. He grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington.


“I grabbed my book and opened it up. I wanted to smell it. Heck, I wanted to kiss it. Yes, kiss it. That's right, I am a book kisser.  Maybe that's kind of perverted or maybe it's just romantic and highly intelligent.” 

“I used to think the world was broken down by tribes,' I said. 'By Black and White. By Indian and White. But I know this isn't true. The world is only broken into two tribes: the people who are assholes and the people who are not.” 

“Do you understand how amazing it is to hear that from an adult? Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from anybody? It's one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but they're the four hugest words in the world when they're put together.
You can do it………….I can do it……………………………………Let's do it.”