I flat loved this book. It had be rolling and crying and I could barely put it done. It was a very quick but wonderful read. This book is all about Junior/Arnold a young boy growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. He was born with water on the brain and it was all down hill from there. He was beat up and picked on alot and it only got worse when he decided to "leave the rez." The first day of High School on the rez he throws a book at his teacher and is suspended. While suspended that teacher comes to him and basically says if you want to live you need to go to high school away from the reservation. The teacher tells him that he is too smart and can do better at the high school up the road. The book follows his freshman year. His relationship with his best friend Rowdy, Penelope who half way loves him, walking to school 22 miles on the rain and snow, alcoholics, death, Gordy his Reardan best friend and basketball. This year for him was a wild ride and he handles it amazingly well. From loss, concussions and love he experiences it all.
According to Illinois Library Association this book was retained on the summer reading list at Antioch, Ill.
High School (2009) despite objections from several parents who found its language vulgar and racist. And was suspended from a Crook County High School classroom in Prineville, Oreg. (2008) after a parent complained it was offensive.
It also talks briefly about masturbation and deals a great deal with drinking and deals with the death of many people due in some way to alcohol. He does have some crude language but it was not very much that I noticed and pretty much how high school boys talk to each other. It talks about Indian Culture and the effects whites, alcohol and other things have had on the culture over the years.
As far as it being racist I just do not get that at all.
I would guess this book made people uncomfortable and they did not want to answer questions about what has happened to Indians. This is a book I will let my children read. I think it is a wonderful book but along with that it should be discussed with people.
Added to the cool factor is the illustrations. They are an amazing addition to the book.
And to top it off you know it has to be good because it makes Focus on the Family nervous.
I give this one a 5 out of 5. I can not wait to read more by Sherman Alexie. I really should have listened to my husband soon. I loved this book and would recommend it to everyone.