The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is semi-autobiographical. The novel started as a section of Sherman Alexie's family memoir, but after the persistence of a Young Adult editor he decided to use it as a basis for his first Young Adult novel. Sherman Alexie states that, "If I were to guess at the percentage, it would be about seventy-eight percent true". Like Arnold, Sherman Alexie did grow up on the Spokane Reservation in Wellpinit with an alcoholic father. He was also born with hydrocephalus, like Arnold, but Alexie did not have any speech impediments. Like Arnold, Alexie was also teased for his government-issued, horn-rimmed glasses and nicknamed "The Globe" by fellow students because of his oversized head. Another similarity between Alexie and his character is that Alexie also left the reservation to attend high school at Reardan High, but Alexie chose to go to Reardan to achieve the required credits he needed to go to college. Like Arnold, Alexie also became the star player of Reardan's basketball team, and was the only Indian on the team besides the school's team mascot. The scene where Arnold finds that he is using the same textbook his mother did thirty years before him, is drawn from Alexie's own experiences. The only difference from Alexie's life and the novel is that Alexie threw the book against the wall and did not hit anyone.
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