Young Adult Lit/Crit

January 26, 2008

Things to think about as you read Absolutely True Diary

Filed under: "True Diary of a Part Time Indian" — allison @ 3:06 pm

Hi all,

I thought I’d get everyone started with some ideas before they weighed into Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. My co-facilitator, Josh, will surely add some valuable insights and questions as the week progresses 🙂

As you all know, Alexie’s novel won the National Book Award for YA. WHY?? What’s the appeal to young adults? What’s the appeal to literary scholars? What sets it apart?

What do you think of the cartoons? What purpose do they serve? Is this a “graphic novel?”

In this book, we see Junior get judged by other people. But how is Junior judgemental?

Examine the role of race in this novel. Is this book racist? Is Junior racist?

Looking forward to your thoughts!



  1. Thanks Allison. The Wikipedia entry on Alexie is worth our reading to get a more comprehensive understanding of his life and work. KES

    Comment by sunyprof — January 26, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

  2. Raph noted the similarities between INDIAN and ABC. Does either boy seem settled at the end of the novel? Is either at peace with his identity?

    Comment by allison — January 28, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

  3. I think you brought up some really interesting questions about the novel. What appeals to me, and I assume would to young readers as well is just how real Junior/Arnold seemed. I really am way too hung up on main characters that are real and believable, but I think that’s just what Junior is and it made me appreciate what he’s writing and experiencing. The language he and his friends use, as well as the topics he chooses to include are not what some readers come across everyday, so that definitely has some appeal too. I see him as pretty realistic in his judgments and thoughts on others.

    I really enjoyed all of the cartoons throughout the novel. I liked how the story was mostly in the words, but was really enhanced by Junior’s cartoons. I know that’s something young readers will be happy with too.

    I can’t wait to further discuss this novel in class!

    Comment by katefrazer — January 30, 2008 @ 9:23 pm

  4. Kate,
    Thanks for your thoughts! I agree with you! Junior certainly is believeable! I think Alexie really gets into the mind of this boy! I think this is because Junior is based on Alexie himself. In an interview, Alexie says he was nervous that the novel would turn into a “thinly disguised memoir.” (where is the button to embed links??)
    On top of that, Alexie captures the high school atmosphere- bullies, pretty girls, insecurity, etc.

    Even if students cannot relate to the experience of being an Indian or changing schools, Alexie’s account of trying to find one’s place in society is universal.

    Comment by allison — January 31, 2008 @ 1:51 pm

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