We’re two weeks away from our September 1st Book Club conversation about The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I’ve t finished reading it myself, and like many other cannonballers I’m generally quite pleased with this book and what it manages to accomplish in its relatively short page count. You are reading (or rereading) this one aren’t you? As a refresher, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. This book chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy.
Below I’ve gathered a few possible discussion topics for September 1st, if you have more ideas for topics of discussion, please just leave them below in the comments.
Like our two other Book Club Reads, I will be moderating discussion here on the mothership and also over at our Facebook group page, the Cannonball Read Book Chat, throughout the day on the 1st. The group is open to everyone, so feel free to join us there as well!
On to the topics:
- Visuals appear frequently in this work, from its cover design to the art by Ellen Forney. What is their impact on your understanding of the dichotomy of Junior?
- Addiction and poverty. They are likely expected themes in a book about modern life on a reservation. How do you think they were handled, how did they affect you while reading?
- This book is a Banned Book list perennial entry and a National Book Award Winner. Do you think the same aspects of the book cause it to be on both lists?
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is designated as YA. What is your definition of YA, and how does this novel fit into it?
- Language – Junior speaks the way 14-year-old boys speak. How do you think this impacts the reader’s appreciation of the character? Does it matter what age the reader is?
- Cultural markers – we all learn our cultures through experience. Like Junior, we know the rules. What “rules” in your own experience have been challenged, like Junior’s?
Give these some thought and I’ll see everyone on September 1st.