Author: Sherman Alexie
Read in: February 2016
Welcome to my first 5-star book of the year. My friend Kate recommended this to me two years ago. And then again last year. Seeing as how Kate also recommended The Hunger Games and Eleanor and Park to me, I should probably listen more closely. But she said it was Sherman Alexie, and I thought, doesn’t he, like write poetry? And like, I don’t really read poetry? But, no, he doesn’t, Chattycha you’re an idiot. He writes books about Native Americans (or Indians as he refers to them). And they’re good. Read this and you’ll like it.
Guess what? I loved it. It follows the story of a high-school Indian living on a reservation in Eastern Washington who despite the odds chooses to attend a school outside the rez. It is a real look at life on the reservation with tears and laughter and love and humiliation. I was absolutely floored by how real and honest it was how much it seemed to reveal about the author.
On top of that was the illustrations, which were done by Seattle illustrator Ellen Forney (who I totally read in the late 90s and should have recognized the drawings but didn’t until the very end when I saw her name there.) In the book the main character loves to draw, draws his friends and family, himself and so of course the book is filled with comic drawings that make this so much more enjoyable.
We need diverse books. Do you think you could have no reason to read about Indians living on a reservation, that it won’t interest you in the slightest? Think again. The more you know about what you don’t know, the more you want to learn about what you don’t know.
Recommended for: Teens/YA fans