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.


jennifer said...

who did that drawing?

molly said...

i'm reading it! And, I'm all about the YA novel. I just finished reading "King Dork", also a YA novel, but maybe I just relate to that time period still?

Christina said...

JJ the illustrator for the book is Ellen Forney (http://ellenforney.com/), her stuff like the image above is great.

Molly - I loved King Dork!! After your done with it tell me our band name. And yeah, I'm a big fan of YA novels too.

comfies said...

thank you for this. i will absolutely get this book. the passage you shared was just beautiful.

p.s. i miss you T! sending hugs and kisses!