The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie, Ellen Forney While this is a very dark book as far as young adult literature goes, it's a fantastic read with a very compelling protagonist. Arthur Spirit "Junior" is a Spokane Indian living on a reservation where the future holds only the promises of alcoholism, violence, and most likely an early death. Born with many medical issues, Junior manages to overcome them all and dreams of something better for himself. He convinces his parents to let him attend the nearest "white" school where he finds himself even more of an outcast. But despite the multitude of things working against him, Junior never loses hope.

This book does not shy away from the misery that life on the reservation entails. Most adults have a drinking problem. Violence is prevalent. Junior is often the target of bullies. His family is barely functional, his father an alcoholic, money always in short supply. Told in any other way, this story would almost be unbearable because of the hardships that Junior endures.

But Junior approaches his world with a mixture of humor, acceptance, and determination that he can have something different. The book is sprinkled with Junior's drawings and cartoons, illustrating his take on the life he's been handed.

In the end, this is not an easy read. But it's well worth it because Junior never loses hope or his faith that things can get better.