rating: 4 of 5 stars
I liked this book quite a bit, more by the end than I thought I would. I still don't understand why it's being marketed as a 'young adult' book--if that was Alexie's goal or if that was his agent's or publisher's way of trying to make more money. In any case, there are plenty of harsh grown-up truths in this book to make it challenging even for a cynical reader like me to breeze through. Although I didn't enjoy the fact that the protagonist, Arnold Spirit, seemed so in love with white people throughout the book--when they weren't beating him up or acting racist, that is--I think Alexie did a great job helping me understand how Arnold in some ways HAD to love white people in order to have any hope to escape the poverty and misery of the reservation where he lived. The political activist of color in me wanted Alexie to show more of the positive things about Rez life, but in the end, I'm glad he didn't, because that wouldn't have been honest to the character or the story he was trying to tell. And he did describe some lovely details from the character's perspective (moments with his grandmother and best friend, Rowdy, for example) that were achingly beautiful in their painfulness and irony. I would love to hear what a teenager/young adult thought about this book!
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