I read Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in three sittings and probably three hours. It is a FAST read. Fast enough that when I reached the end I thought I couldn’t possibly be finished. Not that the ending wasn’t satisfying, because it was. But there was something that felt incomplete to me. I liked how it ended, but I wanted more.
In fact, I felt that way about the book overall. I wanted a little something more than what I got. I frequently felt like I was missing something. Sometimes it was details that seemed to be eluding me. Sometimes it felt like I was making huge leaps in time without anything in between. At the end of the book I was pleased, but also felt like so many areas were left open. All the plot points weren’t tied up in a neat little bow.
And then I thought about the title again. The Absolutely True DIARY of a Part-Time Indian. And then I thought about who was writing this diary (a high school freshman boy). And then, I realized the brilliance of this book. My frustrations with the narrative, with seeming plot holes and lack of details, they exist because Alexie so perfectly wrote this novel from the perspective of Arnold/Junior.
So in the end, I really liked the book. Did I love it? No, but not because it wasn’t great. I think if I was in the target audience, I would’ve capital-L LOVED it. Instead, I just enjoyed it and plan on recommending it to everyone I know looking for books for their teenagers.