Parents' Guide to

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Funny, gritty, and powerful novel of growing up on the rez.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 51 parent reviews

age 17+

Smut …. Lacking in academic value

The references and reiteration of the main characters’s masturbation habits is crude. Other language just seems crass and lacking in literary value. So many better books that are age appropriate for middle and high school that deal with social issues. Can’t believe this is being categorized as age appropriate for 13 and 14 year olds! 7th and 8th graders…. Really???
6 people found this helpful.
age 17+

Do not let school age kids read this, sexually explicit

This book is not appropriate reading for school age kids because of its sexually explicit content, and is designed to stereo type people. I would like to think we can do better and expect more from authors today.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
4 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (51 ):
Kids say (97 ):

Racism, alcoholism, grief, identity, familial love, comics, basketball, and hope all mingle in this poignant story of a Native American boy attending an all-White high school. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian may be some readers' first look at life on a reservation. Author Sherman Alexie, who based the story on his own life, is unflinching in his descriptions of alcohol-fueled hopelessness and poverty. But it's not all hopelessness. Not as he describes Junior's love for his family or his love of learning and basketball. Junior also refuses to give up on Rowdy, who feels so betrayed by Junior leaving the reservation school that he punches Junior at every opportunity. Junior's attempts to win Rowdy back while still trying to fit in at his new school -- or even just make it the 22 miles to school each day when Dad is always running out of gas money -- really demonstrate the tough world he inhabits.

Readers who know that Alexie was accused of sexual misconduct in 2018 may see some of the book's sexual content in a different light than those who read it without knowing those details. A 14-year-old boy being obsessed with masturbation feels honest, but a scene in which Junior gets an erection while hugging a counselor now lacks the "gee, isn't it awkward to be a boy full of hormones" humor it once had. When this book first came out, it felt like a fresh voice and perspective. And it still feels like a valuable perspective for kids to experience. But whether it continues being read widely given Alexie's off-the-page situation remains to be seen.

Book Details

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