I voted for this for the CBR book club, because it’s been on my to-read list for a couple of years and I knew this would be the motivation I needed. And I’m so glad it was selected, because this was really a great book.
I didn’t entirely know what to expect, but I think the chapter early on (was it the second one) really set the tone. He talks about the worst thing about being poor wasn’t being hungry; it was not being able to take the dog to the vet when he was sick. That was just a big slap in the face of reality, and let me know that this wasn’t going to be a generic young adult book (not that I was expecting generic from Mr. Alexie).
The book follows Junior, a Spokane Indian who is motivated by a teacher to get a better education by attending the white high school 20 miles outside the reservation. The book somehow manages to address poverty, racism, opportunity, motivation, success, fear, alcoholism, and relationships with equal parts humor and depth. The book sounds like it could be the inner thoughts of a 14-year-old boy, and I mean that in the best way possible.
Really the only issue I took with it was the liberal use of the gay slur that starts with the letter f. I get that he’s trying to give us insight into how adolescent boys talk, but it was so jarring and I thought wasn’t necessary.