“You Have to Get a Boner!” or Wisdom from An Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

You should know this book has cartoons! Seriously, it has pictures! If that doesn't get you excited, then I don't know what will.

You should know this book has cartoons! Seriously, it has pictures! If that doesn’t get you excited, then you are probably dead inside…

When fellow Underground Treehouse writer/editor Heather Gois said she would be writing a review of Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which you can read by clicking here, I was thrilled and could not resist the urge to write this companion article. You see Part-Time Indian is one of my favorite books and it contains some of my favorite quotes. Today I want to share one of them with you. It is one of those quotes that contains delicious nuggets of wisdom, you know, the kind that make a difference and provide perspective. It is told from the point of view of fourteen-year-old Arnold “Junior” Spirit, who is talking to his friend Gordy. Seriously, this quote is amazing. Enjoy!

Warning:

 The following excerpt contains references to boners (metaphorical boners). It is suitable for young readers, by which I probably mean ages 12 and up. You decide if it is suitable for you. If you are offended by the mere mention of boners—even metaphorical boners—you should refrain from reading.

Warning regarding the above warning:

If you have decided not to read the following excerpt for fear of being offended by boner references, you should know that you will be missing out on some very profound, hilarious wisdom. Also, the excerpt/book isn’t offensive, that is unless you consider the word “boner” offensive.

An observation:

Based on the fact that you are still reading this warning even though the danger has already been expressed and the word “boner” has already been used a great deal, I would venture to say that the word “boner” is not very offensive to you at all. In fact, I think you are enjoying all the boners. Boner. I must say, I really like your open mind! Please read on and enjoy an excerpt from Sherman Alexie’s amazing young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian:

“You read a book for the story, for each of its words,” Gordy said, “and you draw your cartoons for the story, for each of the words and images. And, yeah, you need to take that seriously, but you should also read and draw because really good books and cartoons give you a boner.”

I was shocked: “Did you just say books should give me a boner?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yeah… don’t you get excited about books?”

“I don’t think that you’re supposed to get THAT excited about books.”

“You should get a boner! You have to get a boner!” Gordy shouted. “Come on!”

We ran into the Reardan High School Library.

“Look at all these books,” he said.

“There aren’t that many,” I said. It was a small library in a small high school in a small town.

“There are three thousand four hundred and twelve books here,” Gordy said. “I know that because I counted them.”

“Okay, now you’re officially a freak,” I said.

“Yes, it’s a small library. It’s a tiny one. But if you read one of these books a day, it would still take you almost ten years to finish.”

“What’s your point?”

“The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don’t know.”

Wow. That was a huge idea.

Any town, even one as small as Reardan, was a place of mystery. And that meant Wellpinit, the smaller, Indian town, was also a place of mystery.

“Okay, so it’s like each of these books is a mystery. Every book is a mystery. And if you read all of the books ever written, it’s like you’ve read one giant mystery. And no matter how much you learn, you keep on learning so much more you need to learn.”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes,” Gordy said. “Now doesn’t that give you a boner?”

“I am rock hard,” I said.

Gordy blushed.

“Well, I don’t mean boner in the sexual sense,” Gordy said, “”I don’t think you should run through life with a real erect penis. But you should approach each book—you should approach life—with the real possibility that you might get a metaphorical boner at any point.”

Watch the following video of Sherman Alexie reading the above excerpt. Trust me, it will give you a boner, most likely a metaphorical one…

Find Sherman Alexie (and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) Online:

Website                Facebook                       Twitter                   Goodreads                         Amazon.com                   Barnes & Noble.com

Read Heather’s review of The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian. It. Is. Awesome.

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