Sherman Alexie | Fiction
This is a young adult book, but it kept coming across my radar, so I decided to give it a try. Besides, I devoured Harry Potter and those are young adult books!
Junior is a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Born with physical challenges, he is picked on by everyone. But he decides to attend an all-white school outside the rez, and then is branded a traitor. Can you tell this is a funny book? Sherman Alexie is amazing!
Inspired by his own life and wit, this book addresses all of life’s saddest challenges – from domestic abuse to alcoholism, racism to low expectations, poverty, death, fisticuffs, basketball and love – with humor and clarity. This would be a great book for teaching a young adult about what life is really like – and is a great opportunity for us as adults to see the world through the ideas of a witty writer and cartoonist.
Here is an example of how Alexie describes a difficult situation with quick cleverness: Mr. P. grabbed me by the shoulders and leaned so close to me that I could smell his breath. Onions and garlic and hamburger and shame and pain. (page 42) Wow. He says so much in one short sentence.
Junior finds a new friend at his new school, but learning to communicate with nerdy Gordy is a task onto itself:
"A metaphorical boner!" I shouted. "What the heck is a metaphorical boner?"
"When I say boner, I really mean joy," he said.
"Then why don't you say joy? You didn't have to say boner. Whenever I think about boners, I get confused."
"Boner is funnier. And more joyful."
Gordy and I laughed.
Yes, I suggest this book. It is a quick and interesting read and a succinct statement on the times in which we live, and the circumstances we shield ourselves from seeing.