Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie

Book Summary

This book has a considerable amount of mature content and language.
Junior, the main character, has a number of issues - he suffered from seizures as a young boy, he's not super attractive, and his family lives on a reservation and doesn't have a lot of money. His best friend is verbally and physically abusive. After Junior decides to attend the all-white school several miles away, the protagonist contends with a new set of struggles. In finding his way "out," he also finds things to appreciate.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian book cover
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Book Review

This is one of the most powerful books I've ever read. It's raw and painful and human and eye-opening. It's fast-paced, and examines ways that people are locked into groups and their intentional and unintentional sabotage of those who would move between groups and systems. Alcoholism, character deaths, slurs against various groups of people, and graphic violence are all part of the story. Heartbreaking and humorous, heartwarming, and autobiographical, this is an unforgettable read.


Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Family Relationships; Traditions
  • American Indian Reservations - Present Day U.S.
  • Racism; Bullying
  • Persistence, Courage, Mentors
  • Hydrocephalus; Seizures
  • Wealth and Class Disparities in Education
  • Friendships; Being Different from Peers; Walking in Two Worlds
  • Cartoonists
  • Basketball

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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