Absolutely Truly Heartbreakingly Beautiful.
I know I've talked about how much I love Sherman Alexie here before. I also went on and on about how much I adored him after seeing him speak for his book Flight. I'm not a bit embarrassed about any of my gushing. One of the books I read on my way to and from NY this past week was Alexie's new novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. It's a good story, with beautiful characters and lots of heartbreak. I almost cried a few times, which I guess isn't saying much since I had just been to a funeral, but what gets me every time is how flawless Alexie's prose are. He has these beautiful passages and I just want to underline everything until I realize I'll just have to read the book over again. The book is classified as a 'Young Adult' novel, but please don't let that stop you from reading it, some of the best books I've ever read were written with Young Adults in mind. I could summarize the book for you here, but I think it makes more sense to give you a little taste of it, so I'll put a passage below. It's a quick read and one of those books you finish that sort of makes you love and hate humanity all at the same time, again I was coming off of some pretty intense stuff, so maybe I'm projecting. But either way it's a book worth reading, trust me. To listen to an excerpt of Sherman Alexie reading from the book go here.
From The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
I draw all the time.
I draw cartoons of my mother and father; my sister and grandmother; my best friend Rowdy; and everybody else on the rez.
I draw because words are too unpredictable.
I draw because words are too limited.
If you speak and write in English, or Spanish, or Chinese, or any other language, then only a certain percentage of human beings will get your meaning.
But when you draw a picture, everybody can understand it.
If I draw a cartoon of a flower, then every man, woman, and child in the world can look at it and say, “That’s a flower.”
So I draw because I want to talk to the world. And I want the world to pay attention to me.
I feel important with a pen in my hand. I feel like I might grow up to be somebody important. An artist. Maybe a famous artist. Maybe a rich artist.
That’s the only way I can become rich and famous.
Just take a look at the world. Almost all of the rich and famous brown people are artists. They’re singers and actors and writers and dancers and directors and poets.
So I draw because I feel like it might be my only real chance to escape the reservation.
I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.