One City, One Book
The Malden Reads Core Committee choice for this year is
"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian."
In the "Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian", Sherman Alexie recounts
the trials of a Native American teenager, Arnold “Junior” Spirit, during his first year in high school.
His first novel, Reservation Blues, won the Murray Morgan Prize in 1995.
Junior must fight to improve his social standing both on and off the reservation. He accomplishes this accidentally when he goes out for Reardan’s basketball team.
In the course of this young adult, coming-of-age story, Alexie highlights both the spiritual and psychological highs and lows of living on a reservation—a place of stagnation as well as a place of strong family roots and long-lasting love.
Junior lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation, but decides to transfer from his reservation school to Reardan High, a white school that is more than twenty miles away. Upon arrival, Junior finds that he is the only Indian (besides the school’s mascot) there. His best friend on the reservation vows never to speak to Junior—the “traitor”—again. Junior also knows that everyone else on the reservation thinks he is an “apple”: red on the outside but white on the inside. Meanwhile, most of the students at Reardan treat Junior as an outcast as well.
Alexie attended Gonzaga and Washington State University.
He holds a BA in American Studies and honorary degrees from Seattle University and Columbia College.
Published in 2007 “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” won the National Book Award in Young People's Literature.