Week 5 Short Response Essay
I feel that True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a very raw novel. Despite some of the controversial topics located within, these ideas lead to a more deep and relatable story. I feel such issues directly allow audiences to connect with the author, while also feeling that they are not alone. Certainly, this book should not be placed in elementary school, but rather intended for more mature audiences, I would suggest ages around 14 and up. If Alexie chose to sustain from topics of drugs, family issues, sex, and fowl language, many fewer people could connect with him. Authors deserve to write about experiences such as these, just as much as PG topics. These concepts certainly aid our understanding and relation to the author.
Alexie posted a short response titled “why the best kids’ books are written in blood’ to this ban, and he touched upon several important concepts. He discussed how we visited a local school and met many individuals who shared in disasters within their lives. He met with a young mother, who was told to just drop out of school when she became pregnant. She was discouraged and felt alone. Alexie mad a wonderful point when he stated: “Does Ms. Gurdon honestly believe that a sexually explicit YA novel might somehow traumatize a teen mother? Does she believe that a YA novel about murder and rape will somehow shock a teenager whose life has been damaged by murder and rape? Does she believe a dystopian novel will frighten a kid who already lives in hell?” (Sherman Alexie, page 1). In this quote he showcases that books like his do not harm young adults or given them negative examples, however, they allow them to realize they are not alone.
Throughout his novel, I felt a connection to him that I haven’t felt with an author before. Unlike most books we read, he never hides anything, whether it’s the truth about his illness, poor family, masturbation, or gambling. He would not appear to be so credible or interesting without these ideas that caused banning in my opinion. Although, no one wants to admit to it, we all masturbate. If schools are truly concerned with including such an idea in their classrooms, then they need to reconsider. I also struggle with gambling from time to time. Not many novels discuss such topics, so when I read about gambling on the reservations, I felt a deep connection. Not to mention, that gambling is a huge piece of Native America culture. Casino’s are one of the only thing given to natives after Americans took the land from them. If people want to gamble, this novel is not the thing that will bring up that hobby. Just because we read something, doesn’t make us get up and do it. If that was true, we would all be murderers, because many of us have read history accounts of just that.
One of the other reasons for banning, was the claim that he was anti-family. However, as we can see, he spoke quite fondly of his parents on numerous occasions. Junior claimed, that his parents were both hard working, however, they did not receive a blessing. They did all they could to put food on the table, even if some nights he was hungry. I feel that distance from family, is a topic very relatable to young adults, and Junior as well. During such times in our lives, we undergo many issues with our families. That simply, does not make us anti-family, rather normal teenagers. Such topics allow teens to know that they are not the only ones facing difficulties with their parents.
There are many books that do not include topics such as this, and many of which are mundane and quite a bore. Young adults will have plenty of years to read boring novels and required texts later on. However, they do not have much time to read novels that can inspire them to gain an interest in reading. And that’s exactly what this novel does. It changes the way individuals feel about reading. That is, that books do not have to be boring and irrelevant. I feel that if more young adults had access to novels they enjoyed and connected to, more would choose to read. However, this is difficult when books are being banned for irrational reasons. Alexie was a great author, who provokes a desire to read by his use of reality and connectivity. No schools should ban such masterpieces such as his.