I didn’t read a lot of YA books when I was, in fact, a young adult. My AP English classes in high school and the Literature classes I took in college focused on the “Classics” and more adult material because we were supposed to be the smart kids. I didn’t read as much in my free time because I always had something to be reading for one class or the other, and when I did read for fun it was a lot of “chick lit” like Jennifer Weiner, Lauren Weisberger and Jen Lancaster. However, as a grown woman I’ve come to love the genre (mostly thanks to John Green and Rainbow Rowell) and wish I’d come across it sooner.
“Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.”
Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a perfectly charming coming of age novel about a Native American high school freshman, Junior, who leaves the reservation to go to the “White” high school in Reardan, Washington to receive a better education. He is ostracized by his people, including his best friend, for leaving the reservation but he isn’t exactly welcomed with open arms by the white children at his new school.
This is an easy read, I read it in one night, but it deals with some serious issues: alcoholism, death, poverty and our protagonist was born with hydrocephalus and suffers some residual brain damage. There is a dark humor, including his comics, in how Junior deals with all the suffering around him that keeps the novel from veering into a too depressing territory. However, there were a lot of situations that wrapped up a little too nicely, too quickly for my liking; I wish there had been another 50-100 pages to flesh out some of the story lines.
Now that I’ve read the book I’m anxious to read all the other reviews already posted and, of course, to see the discussion group’s thoughts in September.