Sunday, September 16, 2007


Reviews: Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Over the last ten days or so, reviews of Sherman Alexie's YA novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian have been appearing in major newspapers across the country. The reviews are excellent. I don't recall a Native authored children's book getting this much press before.

It is well-deserved, for Alexie. It is a terrific book that will, no doubt, win accolades in the children's and YA arena. Newberry, perhaps.

Let's hope readers are so enamored that they look for other books written by Native authors! If you're a person who works with children and books, use the excitement around Alexie's book to promote other Native authored books.

Here's links to the reviews. I don't know how long these will work. Papers vary with respect to how long they let you read an article before they impose a charge to view it. The subtitles of the reviews themselves are interesting to consider...


LA Times review by Susan Carpenter: "'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian' by Sherman Alexie, A Native American boy tries to fit in at a white high school as reservation life takes a toll on his family"

NY Post review by Blake Nelson: "The School of Shock: Indian Delves into White Curriculum, Survives Battle"

Minneapolis Star Tribune review by Jim Lenfestey: "Books: Straight shooter. FICTION 'A teen boy on the Spokane Indian Reservation, beset by health problems and poverty issues, decides to attend school off the reservation, earning the enmity of his peers."

Seattle Times review by Stephanie Dunnewind: "Sherman Alexie captures the voice, chaos and humor of a teenager"

Ottawa Citizen review by Sarah T. Williams: "Native author is a man of many tribes: Terrorist attacks of 9/11 led writer Sherman Alexie to abandon the negative aspects of tribalism"

Oregonian review by J. David Santen Jr.: "Alexie pulls no punches in young-adult novel"

Newsday review by Sonja Bolle: "Alexie entertains while taking on tough ideas"

Spokesman Review by Dan Webster: "Alexie's new fiction may be close to truth"

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Debbie dear,

If you were truly an expert on children's literature, you would know the award given by the American Library Association is the Newbery with only one "r".

But not to worry... Alexie, while talented, doesn't have a prayer at winning the Newbery Medal. Maybe a Newbery Honor book if the committee is desperate to include diversity. Alexie has a better shot at winning the Printz or getting a Printz Honor designation, though I feel his chances of winning the Printz itself are, again, slim to none.

Debbie Reese said...

Anonymous,

Not sure what to say in response to your snide comment.

Your comment captures the resistance out there, to Native scholars, writers.... To Native people, broadly speaking, who push back and against the pervasive stereotypes of us that are out there in abundance.

jpm said...

Deb, It's fun to imagine Sherman Alexie's take on the kind of courage it takes to snidely snipe about a typo or bloviate about a book's prize potential, from behind the "anonymous" mask.

That said -- the reviews/interviews you linked to were interesting and varied. Prize or no, this book is not being ignored and it won't be going away any time soon.

Jenine said...

Thank you for these links. I heard Sherman Alexie interviewed about the book on NPR last week (Morning Ed. I think). I liked the segment. I'm looking forward to reading the book and to the time when my kids will old enough to read it.