A Bildungsroman of a book review

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian– Sherman Alexie’s funny and exciting autobiography turns a life changing experience into an authentic narrative.



The writer tells an autobiography from his perspective when he was a Native American teenager,  named Arnold, while living in a reservation.


The author Sherman Alexie was growing up in the Spokane Native American reservation as a Native American teenager. Born with a variety of medical problems, living in a reservation was very hard for him; his dad was alcoholic, and  gambled a lot, therefore he spent hours, sometimes days, drinking and gambling, spending a lot of his money on that. Since Arnold’s family is impoverished, and is in a low socioeconomic class, they ate really little food and sometimes didn’t eat at all. Because of his dad being alcoholic, Arnold had no time to spend with him and that made a separation between them. Sherman Alexie’s work explores themes of despair, poverty, violence and alcoholism among the lives of Native American people narrated with a bit of humor.


In the book, the protagonist Arnold, also known as Junior in the reservation

is a person that is willing to have a better education. Arnold at the beginning of the book is also very unconscious of the fact that his family doesn’t have a lot of money. Arnold is also living a very hard life, for example; his grandma dies, the dad of his best friend dies and he was aghast after knowing that her sister dies as well. After he sees how his father wasted all of the family’s money on alcohol and gambling, he realizes he does not want to live a life like his dad.


In The Absolute True Diary of a Part Time Indian, the protagonist Arnold narrates the difficulties of being a Native American teenager living in a reservation, and a lifetime adventure going to a white school. The reason he went to an all white school was because he was a very heedful student and wanted a better education than the one he was getting in the school of the reservation. This book shows how Arnold’s living conditions were in the reservations. He describes all the bad things that happen in the  reservation, such as; bad education, impoverishment , a lot of deaths, and his relationship with his mom and sister, but mostly his dad. He decides to leave the reservation after following one of his teacher’s advice, named Mr.P. Although the reservation was against Arnold for leaving the reservation, he decides to move to an all white school, because he figured he had no future in the reservation. After having a lot of difficulties, and conflicts trying to fitting in because of him getting bullied by his classmates, he manages to integrate himself thanks to his bravery, girlfriend, and basketball.


The author writes from his experience as a Native American teeanager living on a reservation. The way you can understand the development of Arnold, starting from living in the reservation and then moving to the white school is very powerful and describes his feelings and his development throughout the book. Sherman Alexie’s story is fluent, engaging, easy to read, exciting, and very hooky. As a result, the book makes you want to read a second part, and even a third part.


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