17 November 2008

Official NaBloPoMo FAIL + book journal

Yup. I failed. Again. Oh well. C'est la vive. I should have known better than to try it during school again. Next year I will no longer be a grad student and will give it another shot.

Alexie, Sherman (2007). The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. NY: Little, Brown Young Readers. 240 pages.

Arnold Spirit, otherwise known as Junior, tells us his story of growing up a Spokane Indian in Wellpinit, WA. From his miraculous survival at birth (he was born with water on the brain) to his not so shabby basketball skills, Junior navigates the waters of adolescence on an Indian reservation. There are a lot of family issues, a lot of death, and a lot of stereotypes (those that are more or less true and those that aren't) and only one or two nervous breakdowns.

Junior encounters a teacher his freshman year who pleads with him to want more out of life (after Junior breaks his nose). Realizing that he'll end up just like everyone else on the rez if he stays, Junior makes the decision to go to high school at the public school in the neighboring (white) town. Now the outcast in both his home and his new school, Junior stays the course and faces his battles bravely.

Alexie's sort-of semi-autobiographical first YA novel is a complete hit. Winner of the 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature and the 2008 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children’s Literature in Fiction (among others), Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian is a book I can see having an entire freshman class read the summer before they start high school.

And my recommendation is not made solely on this extremely cool video of Alexie getting more laughs than Colbert:

I would booktalk this book to 7th - 9th graders. Those years are totally sucky and reading about a kid of the same age going through some really rough shit of his own, yet in a lighthearted way, might resonate with some.

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