The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Challenge 26 ~ “A memoir.”


★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

This book is difficult, in that it’s hard to consider how I would have approached it in a different manner to solve the problems I encountered along the way. At many times it felt like eerily similar to When Mr Dog Bites, but at other times it showed pure literary finesse, and as a result it took me a good half of the book to really fall into sync with what was going on.

I think the major problem for me was the true inaccessibility at the start. The knowledge base going in was so difficult, that I found I couldn’t relate to either the characters or the setting, which consequently made the plot difficult to access as well. That’s not to say, however, that I didn’t enjoy the setting or the characters – I learnt so much about reservation life (albeit a very thrown in the deep end and sink or swim approach), and the character development throughout was obvious. There just wasn’t an introduction to bring the reader on to the same page as the author.

In a literary sense, the book was strong, with well-developed plots, sub-plots and characters – once I’d fallen in with the surroundings of the book, it was a dream in its ease to read. It broached many a difficult topic and theme, all of which were relevant, and all of which were handled with skill. Unfortunately, (and I entirely appreciate it was semi-autobiographical), many of these topics were skirted around and never fully concluded, which was pretty disappointing.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a fine literary work that conveys an interesting story, with 3D characters. However, for a reader unfamiliar to the setting, it is difficult to fully enjoy the story until you fully become accustomed to the situation, and this can detract from the story itself. Accompanied by some amusing images, the book is an enjoyable read, and maybe even jaw-dropping for those at a more relatable stage or situation in life.

Recommended for fans of:

  • When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan
  • Wonder by R J Palacio
  • Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls



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