The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a first-person narrative novel by Sherman Alexie, from the perspective of a Native American teenager, Arnold Spirit Jr., also known as “Junior”, a 14-year-old promising cartoonist. The book is about Junior’s life on the Spokane Indian Reservation and his decision to go to a nearly all-white public high school away from the reservation. The graphic novel includes 65 comic illustrations that help further the plot.

Although critically acclaimed, The Absolutely True Diary has also been the subject of controversy and has consistently appeared on the annual list of frequently challenged books since 2008, becoming the most frequently challenged book from 2010 to 2019. Controversy stems from the novel’s depiction of alcohol, poverty, bullying, violence, sexuality, profanity and slurs related to homosexuality and mental disability. As a result, dozens of schools have challenged it, and some schools have banned the book from school libraries or inclusion in curricula.