REVIEW: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

14 Sep

Sherman Alexie’s ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’ is one of my favourite Young Adult texts.

The novel shares the experiences of Arthur Spirit Jr (aka ‘Junior’) on and beyond the Spokane Indian Reservation.  In doing so, it canvasses issues surrounding parenting, friendships, complex family dynamics, bullying, acceptance, risks and race.  Not only does this get students talking about these issues, but it will have them critically reflecting on their own circumstances and those of their friends.

Junior is an endearing protagonist with an engaging sense of humour.  It is impossible not to be sucked in by his frank narration style and the humorous accompanying cartoons.

My school does not have a class set of this novel and, as such, I have not had the opportunity to teach it.  However, I have used the first chapter as part of my personal crusade to convince my Years 7 and 8 students to read more widely (QUESTIONS – The Absolutely True Diary ).  Several of my students subsequently borrowed the book from the library.  All who read it loved it!

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5 Responses to “REVIEW: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”

  1. Lolita Garcia October 3, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    Just read the diary and adored it. I will definitely promote this to the reluctant/boy/girl/any age/ reader. Have been inspired to get some english teachers on board for a “first chapter” library lesson where either teacher reads an inspiring first chapter of a novel in turn- then get students to quietly read only the first chapter from a selection of books and then give it the thumbs up or down (Like/dislike thumb cut-outs could be used).
    Also, your blog is fantastic- I will pass on the link to the english teachers at school.
    Teacher Librarian at Richmond High.

    • mscwhite October 12, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

      I love the like/dislike idea! A variation on that activity would be to have a comments sheet for each of the first chapters that is filled in after reading. This way, each student could gain insight into the views of others. These could be kept in a folder in the library, and act as ‘teaser reviews’ to help students ascertain whether or not they might like the book.

      So glad you are enjoying the blog! Please let me know if there are any other books that you think I should be reviewing on the blog and test-driving on my students!

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