One-Minute Book Reviews

November 16, 2007

I Belong to the ‘Tribe of Chronic Masturbators,’ Says the Hero of ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,’ Winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

By Janice Harayda

Remember how upset some librarians got when the word “scrotum” appeared on the first page of the 2007 Newbery Medal winner I wonder what they’re going say to when they find out that the hero of Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian says that he belongs to “the tribe of chronic masturbators.”

Alexie’s novel won National Book Award for Young People’s Literature on Wednesday, so it’s safe to say that it will also receive consideration for the Newbery that the American Library Association will hand out in January. I’ll review the book in the next week or so (along with Daughter of York, originally scheduled for this week).

Until then librarians who want to check out that “good part” can do it by going to the listing for the novel on Amazon and using the “Search Inside This Book” tool to search for “tribe of chronic masturbators,” which appears on page 217. [Note: All you teenage boys who found this site by searching for “scrotum” or “masturbation,” go back to your Social Studies. That page number was a public service for librarians.]

Oh, am I going to have fun reviewing this book! Please bookmark this site or subscribe to the RSS feed if you’d like to read my comments.

© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. Once school libraries get these books, the same parents who’ve spent a fair portion of their lives trying to get the Harry Potter books banned will be back in force as soon as they hear about that “tribe” phrase. Visualizing the headlines in advance, I see:



    Comment by knightofswords — November 16, 2007 @ 11:41 pm | Reply

  2. Malcolm — Not to mention, all the headlines with double entendres like “Member of the Tribe of Chronic Masturbators” …

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — November 17, 2007 @ 3:37 pm | Reply

  3. This was my “airplane book” for our recent cruise. I’m not quite done with it, but should have it finished tonight. Looking forward to your review!

    Comment by speedytexaslibrarian — November 19, 2007 @ 12:29 pm | Reply

  4. Thanks, Amanda. I look forward to your comments, too. One thing I hope to deal with in my review is that “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” was up against “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” which I know well after having posted a readers’ guide to it.

    I’d love to know what people who have read both books (or other finalists) think about the National Book Award. My views on that would have appeared here on Saturday if I hadn’t needed to do some Thanksgiving books, which so many parents are looking for.

    Last year I did a post on the best versions of the Nativity story for children, and no matter what else I wrote about it, it was the No. 1 post day after day …

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — November 19, 2007 @ 1:49 pm | Reply

  5. Guess what – “boner” is used multiple times as well (pages 96, 97, 98, and 190). I finished the book a couple days ago, and hope to read “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” once fall classes are over and the current children’s lit students no longer need access to it.

    Comment by speedytexaslibrarian — November 25, 2007 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  6. Teachers will have fun if they discuss this one in class, won’t they? I appreciate the page numbers, because some people will want to have the context. Thanks!

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — November 25, 2007 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

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