The Absolutely True Diary

of the Part-Time Indian


'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian' is about a teenage boy named Arnold Spirit Junior who has a certain brain damage that comes with a stutter and a lisp. He is a hydrocephalic. A hydrocephalic is a person who has hydrocephalus which is a condition where too much fluid accumulates in the brain, causing brain damage. He doesn't fit in at his school on the reservation. Everyone bullies him and beats him up. Except for his best friend Rowdy and his family. He wants to escape. To runaway from his life as a Native American Indian. He hates the poverty. He hates the constant want for food. He hates the 30 year old Andruss triplet brothers that constantly beat him up. One day, with a wake up call lecture from his worst teacher, Mr. P. He decides. He's transferring to Redan. On page 40, Mr. P said to Junior "And you're bright and shinning star, too. he said. 'You're the smartest kid in the school. And I don't want you to fail. I don't want you to fade away. You deserve better," That's what encouraged him to go the most. When he gets to Redan, things do go so well at first, but a little ounce of courage helps him out. He meets new friends. His new best friend Gordy, an intelligent student with a great sarcastic but positive personality. An older brother-like senior named Roger who helps him get on the varsity basketball team, gives him confidence and helps him out on his date with Penelope. The love of his life. Along the way of Junior's journey, his dog is put down, he loses a best friend, a sister and a wonderful grandmother. In the end, everything works out. The bullying stops almost completely. He has new friends. Still suffers poverty, but is more positive on the life he has.

Meet the "Robinsons"


Junior/Arnold: Junior is the main character. He's the one who goes through a lot of bullying and pain. All he wants is to fit in. He sees life pretty negatively and is ashamed of his background and his home. As time passes, things begin to get better for him even though there are some tragedies along way, he gets to happiness. Junior wears glasses, has brown hair and eyes and has a swollen head due to his brain damage. He also has a lisp and stutters on words. He's very skinny due to not enough food and he has large hands and feet.

Rowdy: The best friend of Junior. Get's revenge on those who hurt Junior. Angry at the world. Afraid of change. Whether he admits or not, Rowdy never wants to hurt Junior, but sometimes can't control his anger.

Penelope: A sweet, bulimic girl that likes Junior and becomes his girlfriend. She's very caring about the world and gives to the poor. She's a little snobby at times but others a sweet girl. She helps Junior feel better at his new school and makes him popular.

Roger: Toughest guy at Juniors new school. He looks out for Junior. Helps him out on a date and gets him on the varsity basketball team. He helped Junior becoming confident in himself when he gave him a tough time.

Gordy: Junior's new bestie at his new school. Helps him out in school and gives him good life lessons on how to handle certain things. He's smart, bright, positive and sarcastic at times.

What's The Prob? How Was It Solved?


The conflict in this book is that Junior, or Arnold, feels that he doesn't belong. He is constantly picked on and bullied because he has a few brain damage problems that causes his lisp and stutter. His head, hands and feet are also swollen which causes more teasing and name calling. On page 21 of the book, the Anduss triplet brothers are picking on Junior at the powwow. In the text it says "The Andruss brothers laughed and walked away, Oh, by the way, did I mention that the Andruss triplets are thirty years old?" People in his reservation don't care about his health or safety that much, that men about twice his age and a few years more are beating him up. No wonder he wants to escape. The type of conflict in this book is character vs society and also character vs self. I think character vs self because even though the society is also putting him down and he's being bullied, he also thinks so negatively about himself and his background. He's ashamed and that also causes him to hurt himself, not physically but mentally.


To fix his problem, Junior transfers to an all white school in Redan which is outside of his reservation. He meets new people and makes the varsity basketball team, where he proves to his old school that he isn't a airhead. He goes through a lot during his new school year but every step of the way, he pushes through. In the end he ends up in a good place and the bulling has stopped, he got what he wanted. A happy ending.

What's The Purpose??

I believe the purpose of 'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time' is to teach kids to always be themselves, stick up for themselves and even when times get tough, and you feel like you can't bare anymore, always persevere and good can come from it.

Fav of them All

My favorite quote, out of all the words and quotes in the book is on the last page of the book on page 230. "You're an old-time nomad,' Rowdy said.'You'er going to keep moving all over the world in search of food and water and grazing land. That's pretty cool." This is my favorite quote, not because it's the end of the book, but because Rowdy and Junior have made up. When Rowdy and Junior's friendship ended, it was one of the saddest things for me because rowdy was the only one who protected him from the dangers of their home. Now, they are making up and becoming friends again.

Book Review - Common Sense Media & Good Reads

After reading this book, 'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian', I would give it five out of fie stars. The book was humorful, depressing and joyful all at the same time. There were moments where I cried or laughed until I felt sick. There were some inappropriate content in the book but not much and the way that it was used was humorful.

Common Sense Media-"Parents need to know that this National Book Award winner presents a powerful look at the life of Native Americans on reservation, and the struggles one teen faces in an effort to escape. There is some gritty material including swearing, racism, homophobia, references to masturbation, erections -and alcoholism is a major theme. Teens get in a number of fistfights and three people close to the main character die. Yet teen readers will get a lot from Junior's story: his sincere and sardonic voice is expressed not only in his writing but in his comics about his life, family, and friends. This device contributes a lightness to even the darkest moments, and allows Junior's anger and wit to come shining through" -Matt Berman

Good Reads-Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live. With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike.


Works Cited

Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. New York & Boston: Little,Brown and Company, n.d. Print.

Nemours. “Stuttering.” Kids Health. Nemours, n.d. Web. 13 May 2016. <>.

“’Sherman Alexie Kid.” Google Images. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016. <>.

WebMD Network. “Brain Damadge: Learn ABout the Trauma from Brain Injuries.” WebMD Network, 2004. Web. 13 May 2016. <>.