0

Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Author: Sherman Alexie693208

Fourteen years old Arnold Spirit, also known as Junor, is growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Junor is an artistic guy who likes drawing and drawing also helps him facing every day’s problems. His life is not wonderful but it gets even more complicated when Junor starts to attend a school outside the reservation. Attendance of High School, where he is the only non-white person is challenging, especially because he doesn’t feel accepted. Not only he’s not accepted by his new friends, but because of his retraining, he also becomes a target in a reservation.


I could say that this book really let me down. I heard amazing things about it, I saw that it also won a few prizes and I was so happy when I saw it in my local library (it was not translated, I read it in English).

Even while reading, I struggled with it. It was a slow read which really surprised me because it’s such a short book, full of illustrations.

I liked the idea of a book – a young Indian boy from the reservation is facing his origin while trying to cross the boundaries of his world. No one from his reservation has attended school outside the reservation before, let alone a school where all people would be white. Junior is aware that he would end up like all the other Indians if he doesn’t step forward and educates somewhere else. Despite the problems that this would bring him.

Arnold seemed a funny and nice guy, slightly lost in this world which is logical, according to his age and the period in his life. I really liked, how the author tried to show off Junior’s artistic side with “his” illustrations. Comics did really variate reading and they were the funniest part of the book. All the other characters were a little bit strange, each in his own way.

The story mainly focuses on Junior’s searching his place in the world – he doesn’t feel well in a reservation, he’s feeling guilty because he turned back to his tribe. But in the same time, he also doesn’t feel good outside the reservation, because he’s aware that he doesn’t belong there either and that people don’t accept him. Even though he’s more than successful by finding new friends.

Presentation of Indians in this book seemed grotesque to me. I admit, I don’t know much about the situations in reservations or about Indians in general. But yet, I had a feeling that it was too much humiliation in this book. Resorting to alcohol and consequently to violence, poverty and complete resignation, yes, it was shown through the humor, but it still left a bittersweet taste. But not the one it should. It all seemed too unreal and as a big joke.

I also found this book overambitious. The author included too many serious topics that were not developed further. Bullying, alcoholism, bulimia, first love, rejection, poverty are just one of them. Those were all the topics that have somehow lingered in the air.

A person can achieve everything he wants as only he has a desire and will to change things – I understood that this was the main topic in this book. However, I got a feeling that book gives a false hope for younger readers. Junior comes to a new school and things are going great for him. Everything is (almost) perfect suddenly. Yes, he may still have some problems but still he’s suddenly successful in everything (finding friends, popular girlfriend, success in school). It just seemed too perfect.

And, what I most blame the author for is that because everything was going so well for Junior, he just entangled a few totally unnecessary events (deaths) in the story. Why? Just to break a monotony? And that story continued like nothing happened? Nonsense.

I really felt this book a cliche story and too American. You know…. If you dream and you dare, you will also succeed.

Rating: 2/5 stars

What did you think about this book? I would love to hear your opinions in comments!

 

1

Book Review: The Magicians

Title: The Magicians

Autor: Lev Grossman6101718

Quentin lives completely normal teenage life until the day of his interview for the University of Princeton, where he founds his examiner dead. He also finds a strange envelope with his name on it, which leads him into completely new and strange world.

He’s accepted to the secret magical university where he begins to realize that magic truly exists and he learns how to use it.


It took me a while to get into this book. But I never truly enjoyed while reading. For me, it was a slow read, without a clear point and mostly, I didn’t know what’s going on. Not that I wouldn’t understand but I didn’t get it, how things are connected. And if you read a book and don’t know why are you reading some things, I would say, it’s pretty bad. Everything just seemed like it doesn’t have any connection with the story.

The book is divided into several “books”, each of them addresses a specific period of Quentin’s life. Things become more interesting when Quentin starts to attempt Brakebills University. But if things could be super excited and interesting, they’re not. Because rarely anything happens. It’s just description how Quentin and his classmates hang out and drink. And there is a lot of alcohol.

I usually enjoy if authors incorporate alcohol, cursing, drugs and sex into the story because I think this is a part of every teenager and later mature person life. I think we shouldn’t avoid these topics because if they are part of our lives, they also should be part of book plots. But it bothered me in this book because these things were used without a sense. They didn’t improve a story and they were not related to a story. I had feeling that author just used them, to make his characters more grown up.

After the graduation, Quentin, and his friends find themselves in completely new, adult life. But don’t worry, no spoilers here!

If I though that story will get better or at least will be more reasonable, I was wrong. True, more is going on but again, it’s all confusing. Everything is just one big mess and then the book ends.

I was not impressed with Quentin or his friends. I liked that they were older and more mature. Considering my age, lately, I have trouble reading about shy first kisses and first sex and so on. And I liked this book because here people behave differently as in other YA books. Too bad, that author didn’t take advantage of this because he could create a good magical world for older readers also.

The problem was, that all characters are rather dull, self-important and depressed. Quentin is a completely bored boy who longs for adventures and action, but when things start to happen, he loses interest. Somewhere in the book, it’s mentioned, that he feels pity for all people living boring and dull life. But the reader soon discovers, that he’s the one, who is bored and living aimlessly.

All the other characters are just like Quentin. Annoying and weird in their own way.

The entire book for me was a huge disappointment. I was actually thinking about giving it one star but I finally decided, however, it was not such a disaster. But I really expected more from this book, especially being more interesting.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read The Magicians? What do you think about this book? I know that this book is part of the series, did you read next books? Are they better and more interesting?

2

It’s been a while

You know, when you plan to prepare all the book reviews and schedule posts, so your blog will be updated while you’re gonna enjoy traveling around? But at the end, you are too busy with preparing other stuff and you don’t have anything? If you know what I’m talking about, you’re like me :D Ha!

So yeah, I’ve been away for last two weeks. Had a fun road trip to Czech Republic and Poland. It was great, I had a great time and I even visited a few bookstores.

I have a habit, that I don’t buy myself souvenirs that I don’t know what to do with them. I rather buy books from authors of a country I’m visiting.

In the Czech Republic, I bought The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek. In Poland, I was searching for some Polish authors but even the guy in a bookstore couldn’t help me much. He sent me so another bookstore which I didn’t find. And later, I was too busy with museums and other stuff, so I forgot about it. And now I don’t have any book from Poland. Which is sad.

If you have any suggestions about good Polish books/authors, please let me know!

And hopefully, I will have time to write some book reviews during the weekend ;) Have fun!