Arnold Spirit is a Spokane Indian who tries to improve his fortunes by leaving his school on the reservation and going to a white high school a short distance away, but a world apart, in Sherman Alexie's comedic and tragic Young Adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
Despite the Young Adult label Alexie remains in full effect here, in all his rage and glory, unflinching in his portrayal of "the rez" but also leavening the proceedings with genuine humor. The novel seems to be at least somewhat autobiographical but even more so rings true as a coming of age story.
Even though the novel is accompanied with some neat cartooning throughout, the storytelling is definitely for more sophisticated readers; but I would recommend this to anyone middle school age on into adulthood. It stands very well alongside Alexie's other works.
I have been a big fan of Sherman Alexie for a while but did not know about this YA novel. I picked it up because I have been reading along with a YA fiction class my daughter is taking this summer at college.
I traded for this on www.paperbackswap.com and read it quickly, then donated it to my daughter for the little library she hopes to have in her own classroom one day. Recommended.