Hugh Jackman joins YA adaptation Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

With the unfortunate business of the Dakota Pipeline in the news (which will probably get its own harrowing movie soon), it seems it's more relevant than ever to see the discrepancy in the quality of life between Native people and the rest of the country at large. And as someone with family in reservations, that issue hits closer to home for me than most. Fortunately it seems the popular Young Adult novel ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN, written by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Ellen Forney, uses humor (it's described as having a DIARY OF A WIMPY KID-esque tone), fun drawings, and a focus on a child's perspective to make these dire issues more relatable and palatable.

Here's the synopsis:

The story centers on a teen named Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, he leaves his troubled school on the reservation to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Reportedly FOX 2000 is going to be making a film adaptation of the YA novel, with Hugh Jackman starring in as-of-yet unspecified role, as well as in some behind the scenes capacity. 

I'm actually excited about this movie! While I wasn't a fan of the DIARY OF A WIMPY KID movies (or most YA adaptations), one thing that struck out to me when doing preliminary research on the PART-TIME INDIAN book (I hadn't heard of it before) is that there is apparently some controversy about how the author depicts topics such as sex, alcoholism, and violence, to which Alexie responded in a 2011 Wall Street Journal post entitled "Why the Best Kids Books Are Written in Blood":

I have yet to receive a letter from a child somehow debilitated by the domestic violence, drug abuse, racism, poverty, sexuality, and murder contained in my book. To the contrary, kids as young as ten have sent me autobiographical letters written in crayon, complete with drawings inspired by my book, that are just as dark, terrifying, and redemptive as anything I’ve ever read.

Let's hope the film keeps the positive outlook and unique tone of the novel, while also not sugar coating the harsh realities either.

No release date has been set, but expect more news soon.   

Extra Tidbit: ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN has won many literary awards, including National Book Award for Young People's Literature, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and The Odyssey Award, among others.
Source: THR



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