You’d be foolish not to pick up this book.
Sherman Alexie gives us protagonist Arnold (Junior) Spirit, a self-confessed part-time Indian who lives on the Wellpinit reservation and whose life is complicated by poverty, alcoholism, cultural and ethnic divisions, and death. His physical exterior, thwart with endless geekiness, is a mirror to the lack of hope that he feels on the inside.
Junior’s best friend Rowdy has his back, but salvation comes in the form of a teacher, who tells Junior to search for hope beyond the borders of the reservation. This prompts a contentious move of schools from Wellpinit to Reardon, where the white rich kids go.
Junior must preserve through a series of difficult challenges, mostly caused by poverty driven sociological issues on the reservation, to achieve greatness.
This is a charming page turner which is bound to be a classic coming of age story for generations to come.
Follow Junior as he finds hope and joy in the most thought provoking ways.
Especially look out for the wise words of his friend Gordy:
“If you’re good at it, and you love it, and it helps you navigate the river of the world, then it can’t be wrong.” p.178
There were many moments in reading this book that Alexie delivered a truth so directly that I needed to stop for a long time just to allow it to bounce around in my head. This is a definite read for middle-school and high-schoolers, but don’t be mislead in thinking that it is in any way simplistic or below the scope of adult audiences too.
The book looks like this and yes, it is an National Book Award Winner:
Please get this and give it a read, and while you are at it, take note of the words of Gordy from this very book:
“You have to read a book three times before you know it. The first time you read it for the story…The second time you a book, you read it for its history.” p. 176
As for the third reason, you’ll need to read the book to contemplate that.
This is a brilliant novel and is well worth your social distancing time.