The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie 2007
IQ "It sucks to be poor and it sucks to feel that you somehow deserve to be poor. You start believing that you're poor because you're stupid and ugly. And then you start believing that you're stupid and ugly because you're Indian. And because you're Indian you start believing you're destined to be poor. It's an ugly circle and there's nothing you can do about it." Junior
The above quote is so sadly true. So many people just give up and think that there's no hope, they're always going to be poor and there's nothing you can do about it. The word Indian easily could have been replaced with Latino, Asian or African American.
All the praise this book has gotten is so well deserved. I didn't cry (I rarely do) but I came close to it at certain parts. I laughed really, really hard at certain parts (I liked how at one point Junior is talking about how red his white teacher is getting, and he says "I've never seen an Indian look that red. So why do they call us the redskins?) This book even had a way of making the sad parts funny. I loved the drawings and cartoons in this book. They really added to the story (sad, funny or just informative).
Junior is hands down my favorite character. I feel so bad for him, but through it all he keeps his great sense of humor. He's beaten up at least once a month (card-carrying member of the Black-Eye-of-the-Month club), born with brain damage and is the only Native American kid at his all-white school (not even any other minorities). The book is basically about Junior adjusting to life as an 'outsider' on the rez (reservation) once he starts going to an all-white school.
When I started reading this book I knew nothing, absolutely nothing about life for Native Americans on reservations (I knew that the life there wasn't the greatest, wow was that a huge understatement). It's really tough living on a reservation. There are few jobs and many, many of them are poor. They aren't expected to go to college or make anything of themselves. Also something I never knew about was the huge drinking problem that Native Americans faced. The plight of the Native American people is basically ignored. I wonder why there are no news stories about life on reservations. There most certainly should be.
I don't have a least favorite character. I didn't like any of the evil/annoying characters (like Earl). Ultimately my least favorite characters were all the haters, the Native American people who were mean to Junior and the white people who were racist towards Native Americans.
I think any guy or girl would like this book. This is an absolute must read! 7th grade and up