The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a very well-written novel that blends both humor and heartbreak seamlessly. The story is semi-autobiographical for Alexie and this made the story hold that much more meaning.I appreciate that Alexie did not "hold back" in anyway, the good, the bad and the ugly of life as an Indian on a reservation and an Indian in the "white" town are represented in full. Since I was a child I have been attending American Indian events and reading about both the amazing and heartbreaking history of the tribes. As a white individual I hope I have always done this without insult as after reading Alexie's take on white individuals on the reservation I would like NOT to be grouped with them.
The cartoons in the novel added to the story and really made Junior come even more alive to me. They were well done and often humorous. One of my favorite quotes from the novel relates to Junior's love of drawing: I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.
Junior's grandmother had a great quote regarding why she did not like to drink alcohol, which I can completely relate to (and so few people seem to understand when I TELL them). Why would I want to be in the world if I couldn't touch the world with all of my senses intact?
The heartbreak I mentioned before includes alcoholism, death and the impacts of the attempts of the white man to destroy the very existence of Indians. Some poignant quotes from the novel:She was a Spokane Indian and a bad liar, which didn't make any sense. We Indians really should be better liars, considering how often we've been lied to.That's how we were taught to teach you. We were supposed to kill the Indian to save the child. [...] We were trying to kill Indian culture. [...] The only thing you kids are being taught is how to give up.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.
Yet another reason to be against this religion.Reservations were meant to be prisons, you know? Indians were supposed to move onto reservations and die. We were supposed to disappear.
Luckily because of people like Junior, they haven't.