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Author: Sherman Alexie
The best-selling author of multiple award-winning books returns with his first novel in ten years, a powerful, fast and timely story of a troubled foster teenager ? a boy who is not a ?legal? Indian because he was never claimed by his father ? who learns the true meaning of terror. About to commit a devastating act, the young man finds himself s...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780802170378
ISBN-10: 0802170374
Pages: 208
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 34 ratings
Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Audio Cassette, Audio CD
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reviewed Flight on + 1795 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
First Line: Call me Zits.

I first became a fan of Sherman Alexie when I watched the film Smoke Signals. The fandom intensified when I read Indian Killer. Now that I've read Flight, I may just graduate to waving his books in the faces of everyone I meet, exclaiming, "You gotta read these!" Alexie is a powerful, imaginative writer with a talent for making readers see other people, other cultures, in a whole new--and very real-- way.

Everyone in Flight calls the main character "Zits", and if you wonder how Zits thinks of himself, he'll tell you:

"I'm a blank sky, a human solar eclipse."

Zits is half Indian, half Irish. His alcoholic father took off when he was born. His mother died when he was six. His aunt kicked him out when he was ten after he set her boyfriend on fire. (Don't feel too bad for the boyfriend; he was a pedophile.) Now he's fifteen. He's been in twenty foster homes and twenty-two schools. He has barely enough clothes to fit in a backpack. He's a throwaway kid, and he wants revenge, so one day he takes a gun and walks into a bank...and begins a series of adventures in time travel. No time machine for Zits; the gun is the catalyst for his stints as a mute Indian boy during the Battle of the Little Big Horn, an FBI agent, an Indian tracker, an airplane pilot instructor, and his own father. His desire for revenge rapidly becomes an ongoing lesson in empathy.

The book had barely begun when I fell for Zits hook, line and sinker. What did he say? Something that every passionate reader will understand:

"I bet you a million dollars there are less than five books in this whole house. What kind of life can you have in a house without books?"

Alexie's skilled pen makes Zits anything but a throwaway kid in the reader's mind. I empathized with this lonely young boy, my heart broke when his broke, I became angry when he did. As Zits time-traveled, his attitude began to change, and I found myself hoping with all my heart that he no longer thought of himself as worthless; that someone somewhere would see how valuable he was.

What better thing can you say about a writer than that you were totally involved in what happened to his fictional character? That, for a short period of time, you were transported miles away from your comfort zone and confronted with people totally alien to you, and that you began to care, to get angry, and to be compelled to do something?
reviewed Flight on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Great book. For such a quick read it really grabs your attention right away and packs so much into a short story. Read only if you can suspend your disbelief long enough to be transported with the protagonist through time and space, it's a fantastical and powerful journey.
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reviewed Flight on + 36 more book reviews
Sherman Alexie has many talents, and one of his greatest is that he is never predictable or formulaic. A funny, awkward, heartbreaking, compassionate, strange, wonderful book about life and love and redemption.
reviewed Flight on + 353 more book reviews
It has been YEARS since Alexie has published a novel. I've really enjoyed all of his work, although Indian Killer was at the bottom of that list. Now this little book grabbed me hard before I even opened it. It has that weird uneven cut to the page edges that I like, and the covers have fold-backs that you can use as bookmarks. (Yes, the book is that thin.)
Oh, the story, you want to know. What about the story?
That really took hold of me, young half-Indian teen called Zits by everyone, for the obvious reason. It begins with him on the first day in, like, his twentieth foster home since his mother died. (Father deserted them the day Zits was born.) Soon the story loses it punch for me, perhaps because I am confused by what is happening in a scene in a bank. I lose heart.
Then wham. What the heck, this truly is a time-travel/body-snatching story as this kid ends up in various bodies, witnessing, coming to know, both sides of the story. From Little Bighorn and the massacre of whites, to an attack on an Indian village that may or may not have been the people who massacred a white settlement. We suffer experiencing the horror, shame, and understanding along with him. An especially poignant vignette is when he finds himself in the body of this homeless drunk...we can quickly figure out who that one is... Then back to that bank scene, as himself again, but told very differently than in the beginning.
I was surprised at what seems like a pat, all's-well-that-ends-well ending. But you know, this book needed that ending. After all, though written for adults, it is a fairy tale.
That last just warms your heart and makes you glad he wrote this book.