Erin's Latest Pick
Published on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 4:04pm
His name is Arnold Spirit Jr., but most people just call him "Junior." He has seizures, a speech impediment, and is a charter member of the Black-Eye-of-the-Month Club. In other words, he spends a lot of time getting punched in the face by the stronger guys on the reservation. Fortunately, he has a few things that keep him sane:
1.) his drawing and cartooning
2.) his troubled but loving family
3.) his best friend Rowdy, who is normally the kind of guy who
punches people in the face, but who makes a special exception for Junior.
Finally, though it all gets to be too much, and Junior decides to do what no one he knows has ever done: leave the reservation for high school and go to Reardan High, exactly 22 miles away, where his will be the only Indian face. Now Rowdy hates him, his new teachers act like he doesn't exist, and his reclusive sister has been inspired to change her life, too--by getting married and moving to Montana! Follow Junior through the highs, lows and in-betweens, as he documents his changing world in cartoon form.
Author Sherman Alexie was already a well-known writer for adults when he penned The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and he quickly gained recognition as a writer for teens as well, winning the National Book Award for Young People's Literature for this novel. Whether or not you've read his adult novels (Indian Killer, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, etc.), head over to the Young Adult section to pick up this hilarious, heartbreaking coming-of-age story.
Cartoonist Ellen Forney should get a special mention as well--she created all of Junior's cartoons, and each one is a perfect window into his state of mind.