Monday, November 21, 2011

Reprise: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Astute readers of this blog will know that I've already written, at length, about the book that I bought my youngest son a couple of years ago for Chanukah, a book that he loves but--at the time--described to me as "inappropriate." Honestly, it's one of my favorite posts, so you should read it.

But you might be wondering, well if she already wrote about The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, what more is there to say? Plenty, as it turns out. I think my son has read this book 9, 10, 11 times, and I had read it about 1-1/2 times (what can I say--I'm a skimmer, and some parts of this book are rather painful). The part I'm going to quote is rather painful, and yet it's a part I didn't even notice until I decided to get the audiobook for last year's Thanksgiving pilgrimage out east. (By the way, it is an excellent audio book.)

Sometimes when I listen to a book, I notice parts of it that I didn't notice when I read the book. And so it was that I caught this passage, which is in the chapter, "Because Geometry Is Not A Country Somewhere Near France."

"All right, kids, let's get cracking," Mr. P said as he passed out the geometry books. "How about we do something strange and start on page one?"
I grabbed my book and opened it up.
I wanted to smell it.
Heck, I wanted to kiss it.
Yes, kiss it.
That's right, I am a book kisser.
Maybe that's kind of perverted or maybe it's just romantic and highly intelligent. 
But my lips and I stopped short when I saw this written on the inside front cover.


Okay, now you're probably asking yourself, "Who is Agnes Adams?"
Well, let me tell you. Agnes Adams is my mother. MY MOTHER! And Adams is her maiden name.
So that means my mother was born an Adams and she was still an Adams when she wrote her name in that book. And she was thirty when she gave birth to me. Yep, so that means I was staring at a geometry book that was at least thirty years older than I was. 
I couldn't believe it.
How horrible is that?
My school and my tribe are so poor and sad that we have to study from the same dang books our parents studied from. That is absolutely the saddest thing in the world.
And let me tell you, that old, old, old, decrepit geometry book hit my heart with the force of a nuclear bomb. My hopes and dreams floated up in a mushroom cloud. What do you do when the world has declared nuclear war on you?

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful that I--and my kids--have never had 30-year-old geometry books. So may it always be.

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