Flight by Sherman Alexie is the perfect “boy book”, beginning with a protagonist (nick)named Zits and his offensive language, bad habits, and criminal record. Young male readers will love this book for its crass, hormone-driven language. They will love this fast-paced 208-page novel, because every teen boy has a piece of the half-Indian, half-Irish Zits living inside of him. But hopefully it’s not the piece that takes a loaded gun into a bank filled with innocent people.
Zits is a foster child (9 years running) and has been persuaded by a new friend and brother-in-crime that he can bring back his parents if he performs the ancient Indian Ghost Dance and kill white people. He is young, impressionable, and craving the true love only parents can give. So he walks into a bank with a loaded gun. The story doesn’t continue from the inside of a jail cell or court room, though. Instead, Zits goes through a series of time-travels that open his eyes to the hardships of being a Native American, (something that he strives hard to identify with), a homeless drunk, and a sad, lonely man. Zits begins to see life as having a future, and revenge as a very unstable, fickle thing.
Is revenge a circle inside of a circle inside of a circle?
My coworker Bonnie recommended this audiobook to me, and I am so glad I listened to it. The narrator is the actor Adam Beach, an Indian of Canada’s Saulteaux tribe. His own childhood was full of anguish, death, substance abuse, and missing parents, so it is only appropriate that he was cast to read this novel. Knowing this about Beach, I understand how he was able to make the story come alive. Because for him it wasn’t fiction.