Thursday, 13 August 2015

Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

This has just been one of those weeks. A new internship, new schedule and time to adapt a new. Inspo has also been on the low, so has time but hopefully I will soon get into the swing of things.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. Isn't this book something? But like most books I end up adoring, I didn't like it at first. For one, I new nearly nothing about it, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The temptation to put this read down was rife . but the guilt would have simply killed me.

It all began with 13 Reasons Why. Sherman Alexie loved it, so did I. If it wasn't for his remark on the cover of 13 Reasons Why, this part-time Indian and I would have never met. I don't know who to thank Jay Asher or Sherman Alexie, either way this was one killer find.

This book starts on a depressing note and the trend shows no sign of disappearing. If anything, the deeper you get into it the more dominant it becomes. Meet Arnold Spirit Jr. never mind that I only figured out his name 48 pages in, one of the most unfortunate souls the planet earth has ever seen. As the title suggests he is of Indian descent living on a reservation with his mom, dad, sister and grandma. His whole life is there and he cannot imagine his life any different. Besides his family, Rowdy his best friend means the world to him, despite the fact that they are polar opposites. There's not much to do or become on the res, thus in a bid not to become another res statistic he chooses life beyond it. Going to the predominantly white high school. Shuttling between these two areas that are worlds apart.

To the good stuff. The elephant in the room or should I say in the book,illustrations in this book are mad good and just add a certain pizzaz maybe even joy to this otherwise ball of depression. Like there's  this one that just cracked me up as he contemplated the answer to "Are you poor?", what about the "How not to act poor". Death by comic strips.

Part-time Indian really gets into it and I have to admit that's what I like about it. Life on a reservation has been painted out to be a dead end. Your future, that of your parents and that of your parents parents are no different. Unfulfilled potential fills the air. So does death, stalled lives after high school also dreams. Junior has this unique ability to see the best in everyone despite what is on the surface, what they could have been other than what they are. Hence the dreams.

Arnold Spirit must be the bravest teen in fictional history. Of course at the rate at which I read, this is subject to change but Arnold despite everything trudges on. His health  is in shambles,  well kind of, but it doesn't stop him from playing varsity basketball in his freshman year of high school. In the looks department, well you can be the judge of that, but from his self description he doesn't have a lot to go on but he dates the finest girl in school.He's the perfect target for bullies but with Jr. here, what you see isn't exactly what you get. The classic underdog tale. Earning himself a spot on my bad-ass list.

Capturing his personality in a few sentences, I refuse to. Ignore the fact that I just tried. You just have to read it to understand Arnold's spirit.

Out of nowhere, the people he holds dearest to his heart begin to die. No it's not an epidemic or an attack, it's just life. He seems like he can handle it but you start seeing his surface giving in. Complete with fault lines escalating to huge gaps. Sherman Alexie shows Arnold at his absolute best and worst.  From when his been beaten to an absolute pulp and his down and out both literally and metaphorically to how he copes with it all the hurt, the laughter, the tears, lists and most of all the support. Closing in the gaps, slowly but surely. Sealing in the fault lines. He really is a trooper with one heck of sense of humor.

In a way this book did it all. It doesn't need a prelude not even a sequel. Any more or any less would simply corrupt it. Honestly, it was enough. This is going to be one of those books that will be my go-to-guides when I'm down in the dumps, after the Bible of course.

I leave you with a couple of though provoking quotes courtesy of this part-time Indian:

"When anybody, no matter how old they are , loses a parent , I think it hurts the same as if you were only five years old...I think all of us are always five years old in the presence and absence of our parents"

"If you care about something enough, its going to make you cry. But you have to use it. Use your tears. Use your pain. Use your fear. Get mad Arnold, Get Mad."

"When it comes to death, we know that laughter  and tears are pretty much the same thing"

Imma have to stop myself guys and do what I do best, divide a lengthy post into two. Next time, expect some Part-Time Indian quotes.

Have a good one!

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