This week was a long and short week. Could be that I didn’t do any homework on Wednesday because it was my birthday. Could be that the weather has been weird and makes me feel wonky. Who knows. But I certainly got my 4 hours in with reading The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
This novel, by Sherman Alexie, follows the story of Arnold Spirit Junior. Junior (as he is known on the reservation) is a big-headed, strong minded Spokane Indian just trying to discover who he is and what his role in life will be. After getting suspended because he threw a book at a (white) teacher, Junior is encouraged and then demands to attend the white school in nearby Reardan.
When he goes to Reardan, Arnold (as he is known by his white friends and teachers) navigates the world of high school. We follow him through a tumultuous freshman year. His older sister Amy marries quickly and move to Montana. His grandmother passes away. His best friend Rowdy, and nearly all of the other members of his tribe, consider him to be a traitor. He is first ignored by the white students, then slowly becomes friends with them. He gets a semi-girlfriend. He navigates the boys basketball season – even being a freshman Varsity starter.
I loved this book. While many of Arnold’s struggles are specific to a Native American or other outsider, I related to so much of his life. His journey really is one that mirrors all of our journeys – discovering who we are, what our identity is, and the often confusing and hilarious struggle of our life.
Have you read this Sherman Alexie novel? What book have you read that mirrors the journey of discovering our identity? Let’s talk below…