Monday 1 December 2008

Teen Novel

Finished December 1
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, art by Ellen Forney
This novel is told by Arnold, aka Junior, a freshman at the Spokane Indian reservation. Arnold loses his temper when he finds his mother's name inside his textbook. It makes him angry that they are still using the same textbook that was used when his mother went to school there. This feeling and the encouragement of one of his teachers lead him to enrol in the town school, where the white kids go. Many on the reserve treat this as a betrayal and make it clear that his behaviour is unacceptable to them.
Arnold perseveres through the feeling of being a fish out of water in the new school, and begins to discover his strengths. As he moves back and forth between the white world and the Indian one, he feels torn. Arnold expresses himself through cartoons about his life and the book is peppered with these.
Over the course of the school year, he must deal with triumph and loss and discover what is truly important to him.
Arnold is a complex character, who grows over the course of the novel and the pull between the two worlds rings true.

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