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Letters About Literature

Dear Sherman Alexie,

            Your book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, was inspiring to me.  Junior is the most realistic character I’ve ever read about because he does have flaws.  He’s not perfect or unreal.  This is what made me feel such a connection to your story.

When I was 8, my mom started getting sick, being in the hospital for days at a time.  Sometimes, like Junior, when I think about it, it makes me wonder why this has to happen to her and why my family has to go through all the things attached to it.  She’s been getting better, but it’s never really stopped.  Whenever she’s there, I shut down, trying not to feel anything.  I do this because I’m too afraid that if I don’t, I wouldn’t be able to handle it.  Nobody knows what’s really wrong.  They can temporarily fix symptoms, but because doctors can only guess at what she has, nobody can cure her.  The worst part is knowing that there isn’t anything I can do, nothing anybody can do, to help her.  Junior helped me through this.  Your book helped me through this.

Everybody feels different sometimes.  And sometimes, I feel like nothing is right, like I’m the only person who ever feels like that, I feel alone.  But when I read your book I knew that Junior could be real and that made me feel like maybe I wasn’t as alone as I had thought, because I knew how he felt.  I knew that feeling because I know how it feels to have the world crash into a billion pieces.  Like nothing could even compare to feeling the same.  But Junior dealt with everything with humor.  He looked at everything that was good.  Your book helped me see that everything is somebody’s perspective.  That you can feel however you want.  But you should always try to look at everything you have first, not what you don’t have.  So you can see that maybe the world wasn’t so broken after all.

I feel like you wrote this book for people like me.  Thank you, for reminding me how good a book can be.  That every word can be amazing and important.  That every word really does count.


McKenna Conlin