The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is an almost brutally honest portrayal of life as a smart, nerdy, awkward, disabled boy from the Rez – specifically the Spokane Indian Reservation – and the year he decides to go to the decent high school in the nearby white town. The white kids hate him. The Indian kids hate him. Things get better for Junior and things get worse, but the sense of being slung between worlds never quite goes away. There’s humor, there’s clever cartoons, there’s, well, honesty. There’s also periodic Profundity Syndrome (that pernicious malaise which makes authors tell us point-blank why what we’re reading/just read is Terribly Important and Deeply Profound). It starts about once every 50 pages – an acceptable rate – but it just keeps accelerating till the end. To a certain extent this is fair; it’s first person and the narrator deserves his epiphanies. Still, that creeping Profundity Syndrome keeps it from being a great book. As it stands, it’s a very good book.

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