In my opinion, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is an absolutely fantastic story with an extremely helpful and important message to young readers, especially to young boys. The book’s frequent and casual mention of sexually-charged topics speaks to young people in a way that encourages them to not be afraid of their hormones and sexuality. I feel as though this message is one that is important for young adults to receive as they reach an age that sex is becoming a more frequent topic and pressure.
Another aspect of the book I liked a lot was its use as lens through which the reader might view Native American culture. I think this is important because the American education system has never done enough to teach its young people about the richness and beauty of the Native American culture, and because of this, many in our generation lack an interest that should be instead fostered. On that note, however there is a part of this book I didn’t enjoy and that was how often I felt as though certain customs and ways of thinking of the culture were not further explained. I felt as though there were many times throughout the novel where Alexie could have taken the opportunity to give knowledge to the reader about the culture and help foster that interest and care for it.
I felt also, that often times throughout the book Alexie would not-so-sneakily define nearly every “big” word he uses, a task that, in my opinion, often should be left up to a reader, should they chose to care enough to educate themselves, (a point he actually makes himself in the book), yet often I am left very much in the dark about the character’s culture.
However, overall, this book contains a crucial coming-of-age story that is hilarious, depressing, beautiful, scary, and sincere, typical of any coming-of-age story worth telling.