The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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Arnold, aka Junior, introduces his hardscrabble life on the Spokane Indian reservation in the first chapter called The Black-Eye-of-the-Month Club. Through his “absolutely true” diary, Arnold describes his impediments and vulnerabilities, the biggest of which is living on a reservation where he is a zero with a zero future. A pivotal conversation with a teacher spurs Arnold to make a daring life choice—to attend an all-white school miles from the reservation.

His rocky start there, riddled with stereotypes and misunderstandings, slowly develops into surprising friendships and successes in academics and basketball. Meanwhile, his family life is shattered by deaths, poverty, and alcoholism. Through it all, Arnold survives with a new confidence in himself and hope for the future.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is based on Sherman Alexie’s own experiences growing up on the reservation. The text is coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney; together, they chronicle the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

About Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie is the author of, most recently, War Dances, stories and poems, from Grove Press, and Face, poetry, from Hanging Loose Press. He is the winner of the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award, 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, 2001 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story, and a Special Citation for the 1994 PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Fiction. Smoke Signals, the film he wrote and co-produced, won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. He lives with his family in Seattle.

Teaching Guide

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