Summary - In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
Review - Before reading this book I had heard it described as “the best kind of story” and I have to agree wholeheartedly. Life isn’t solely drama, there’s often laughter to bridge the gap and in this novel the jokes coincide with a heartbreaking events. Junior is an utter delight; he’s strong, charismatic and rolls with the punches. Despite being raised on a reservation, parented by alcoholics while dealing with his own physical struggles, this character’s story could have been one of woe. Yet more often than not you find yourself laughing at Junior’s interpretation of events and his philosophy of life. The tears and laughter accompany one another arm in arm; it’s an emotional rollercoaster of the best kind – awe inspiring, tense and wonderfully unpredictable.
Sherman Alexie’s semi-autobiographical novel reads at a cracking pace and hits the reader several times with the unexpected, an element I absolutely adored. Wonderfully diverse characters, a positive message and a perspective that is emotive, honest and affecting. Whether it be the amusing labels to wonderfully wobbly cartoons, Junior’s determination to channel his nerdy tendencies into positive life change or the sparkiness of the dialogue, Sherman Alexie has achieved quite a feat with this remarkable novel.
Format: Paperback, 230 pages
Source of Review Copy: publisher