the absolutely true diary of a part-time indian-sherman alexie

this remarkable little book is on the banned list? i can see why, it’s pretty chock-full of uncomfortable truths. notably, though it is on the chopping block in chicago, it is also the one they’re reading for their one book campaign. here’s an example of how darling this book is:

“When I was twelve, I fell in love with an Indian girl named Dawn. She was tall and brown and was the best traditional powwow dancer on the rez. Her braids, wrapped in otter fur, were legendary. Of course, she didn’t care about me. She mostly made fun of me (she called me Junior High Honky for some reason I never understood). But that just made me lover her even more. She was out of my league, and even though I was only twelve, I knew that I’d be one of those guys who always fell in love with the unreachable, ungettable, and uninterested.” (74)



3 thoughts on “the absolutely true diary of a part-time indian-sherman alexie

  1. love and lust:

    “I get headaches because my eyes are, like, enemies, you know, like they used to be married to each other but now hate each other’s guts.” (3)

    “My heart broke into fourteen pieces, one for each year that Rowdy and I had been best friends.” (52)

    “I was emotionally erect.” (59)

    “‘Well, I don’t mean boner in the sexual sense,’ Gordy said. ‘I don’t think you should run through life with a real erect penis. But you should approach each book-you should approach life-with the real possibility that you might get a metaphorical boner at any point.’” (97)

    “I didn’t know what to say to her. What do you say to people when they ask you how it feels to lose everything? When every planet in your solar system has exploded?” (213)

  2. parents doing their best:

    “Yep, my daddy was an undependable drunk. But he’d never missed any of my organized games, concerts, plays, or picnics. He may not have loved me perfectly, but he loved me as well as he could.” (189)

    “But it wasn’t okay. It was about as far from okay as you can get. If okay was the earth, then I was standing on Jupiter. I don’t know why I said it was okay. For some reason, I was protecting the feelings of the man who had broken my heart yet again.
    Jeez, I had just won the Silver Medal in the Children of Alcoholics Olympics.” (151)

    “My sister is running away to get lost, but I am running away because I want to find /something/. And my parents love me so much that they want to help me. Yeah, Dad is a drunk and Mom is an ex-drunk, but they don’t want their kids to be drunks.” (46)

  3. how the other side lives:

    “Mr. Dodge wasn’t even a real science teacher. That’s what happens in small schools, you know? Sometimes you don’t have enough money to hire a real science teacher. Sometimes you have an old science teacher who retires or quits and leaves you without a replacement. And if you don’t have a real science teacher, then you pick one of the other teachers and make him the science teacher.” (86)

    “Rowdy could be so crazy-funny-disgusting. The Reardan kids were so worried about grades and sports and THEIR FUTURES that they sometimes acted like repressed middle aged business dudes with cell phones stuck in their small intestines.” (130-1)

    “Of course, ever since white people showed up and brought along their Christianity and their fears of eccentricity, Indians have gradually lost all of their tolerance.” (155)

    “‘I used to think the world was broken down by tribes,’ I said. ‘By black and white. By Indian and white. But I know that isn’t true. The world is only broken into two tribes: The people who are assholes and the people who are not.’” (176)

    “And I was kind of suspicious that white people were really interested in seeing some Indians battle each other. I think it was sort of like watching dogfighting, you know?” (184)

    “I’m fourteen years old and I’ve been to forty-two funerals.
    That’s really the biggest difference between Indians and white people.” (199)

    “Somebody dies and people eat your food. Funny how that works.” (207)

    “Reservations were meant to be prisons, you know? Indians were supposed to move onto reservations and die. We were supposed to disappear.
    But somehow or another, Indians have forgotten that reservations were meant to be death camps.” (216-7)

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