Sherman Alexie: The Person Behind the Books


Many people have heard of or are familiar with the name Sherman Alexie. In fact, he is a renowned author, poet, and filmmaker.


Many people have heard of or are familiar with the name Sherman Alexie. In fact, he is a renowned author, poet, and filmmaker.


His works are generally about the truth about Native Americans today.


For example, one of his best known works is the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. In this book, a young boy living on a reservation feels trapped inside the stereotypes about Native Americans. As the boy desperately tries to find his own identity, he discovers what is true and what is false about the thought of Native Americans.


Another one of Sherman Alexie’s celebrated works is the movie Smoke Signals, which is based on his book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist-Fight in Heaven. This movie is about the tale of two Native American teenagers who are polar opposites, but are still friends because their fates are tied together since they were rescued from a burning house on the same night as infants. A great example of how Sherman Alexie uses humor to emphasize the undertone of tragedy in his works, this film follows these boys, Thomas and Victor, through a hilarious and heart-wrenching journey as they travel to find out the fate of Victor’s dad, who left his family when Victor was very young.


Sherman Alexie is even currently working on 7 novel projects and one picture book titled Thunderboy Jr. written by himself and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, which is set to come out Spring of 2016.


Despite how captivating and inspirational Sherman Alexie’s works are, he is much more than his books, movies, and poems, as many found out when he spoke at a Pen and Podium event on the ninth of February. In fact, Sherman Alexie is an amazing individual with many of the qualities of his fictional characters.


For one, he is quite funny! Everything he says is a humorous story, whether it be about how he hasn’t “touched the rim since parachute pants were big” in basketball, or if he says, “You have Chexmix? I love Chexmix!” when talking about one of his travels. This story-telling ability makes him a very interesting person to listen and talk to.


Of course, what Sherman Alexie says always has meaning too. He speaks of government, education, life-lessons, reading and writing, and Native American reservations.


In fact, Sherman Alexie seems to be more passionate about Native Americans on reservations than other topics. He is known to travel to reservations around the country speaking to the kids about the joys of reading and writing, even trying to convince them to leave the reservation and go discover what lies beyond. “The world is amazing,” he notes, “and no one ever told me that growing up.”


Yes, Sherman Alexie’s works are spectacular, but what may be even more important than his books and films about the truth about Native Americans is the truth about their creator, which is that Sherman Alexie is truly a wonderful, inspirational man.