81 pages 2 hours read

Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2007

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Chapters 19-21

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 19 Summary: “My Sister Sends Me a Letter”

Mary sends Junior a handwritten letter. She’s still looking for a job, but restaurants won’t hire her without experience, and she can’t get experience without being hired. She has started writing her life story, which she wants to call “How to Run Away from Your House and Find Your Home” (133). She also reveals that she and her husband moved into a “gorgeous” new house (134). Junior includes a cartoon based on photo she sent, showing that their new home is a trailer.

Chapter 20 Summary: “Reindeer Games”

Junior’s dad convinces him to try out for Reardan’s basketball team. Junior thinks he’ll be on the C team, but at tryouts, Coach says there won’t be a C team because of budget cuts. At tryouts, Junior faces off one-on-one against Roger, who knocks him down. Coach says he remembers Junior from Wellpinit, and that he’s a good shooter. Junior volunteers to play Roger again, scores against him, and winds up making the varsity team as a freshman.

Two weeks later, Reardan has their first game against Wellpinit on the reservation, which means Junior has to play against Rowdy. Junior is so nervous he vomits four times. When the Reardan team arrives at the reservation gym, the Wellpinit basketball fans chant “Arnold sucks!” using Junior’s Reardan name (143).