Friday, January 2, 2009

Celebrate It's Ok to be Different Month!

I know that as teens, you have a hard time fitting in, and it doesn't help that every adult tells you to just be yourself. But, as I've learned, it is best to be yourself, especially if you're different. A great YA ( young adult) book shows this: Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

It's the story of a Native American boy, Junior, who lives on a reservation in Spokane, Washington. Life on '' the rez'' is not a happy one, with a drunken father and Junior not learning anything form 30-year-old textbooks in school. To improve his education, Junior transfers to an all-white school in a neighboring town. There, he has to deal with the culture shock of being the only Indian at the school besides the mascot and hiding the fact that he's poor from a girl he wants to impress. There's not only racism at school to deal with, but there's rejection from his own tribe for being a ''traitor'' and leaving the reservation. On top of all that, Junior has to deal with death and how to live on his own terms in two worlds, Indian and white.

Though the book sounds sad, there's plenty of humor to keep the book light. Junior is a silly, weird, but thoughtful and insightful character that will make you root for him. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian will make you laugh, cry, and show that sometimes your parents are right: It's ok to be different and you should always be yourself.

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