Sherman Alexie Breaks My Heart

I don’t know Native author Sherman Alexie, but I do his writing. I have all his books and have read them all. He won, deservedly, the National Book Award for his YA book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Yes, I am a big fan.

I bought his latest collection, Blasphemy. The book contains a few stories selected from other books like The Toughest Indian in the World and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Most are new. 

I liked the stories in Blasphemy. They are solid Alexie. And then, I got to the second to the last story, Basic Training. The story is about a Donkey Basketball outfit. For those unfamiliar with Donkey Basketball, it’s like the regular game but the players do it on the back of a donkey. Donkey Basketball teams traveled from town to town, raising money for schools and good causes. They are a throwback to another era. There are not many of them left.

The story begins: “George Mikan was the best basketball donkey that Carter & Sons had ever owned.” Carter & Sons is one of the last teams. Business is bad and Emery Carter is unlikely going to pass the business onto his son, who has other plans. Emery Carter brings the donkeys to a reservation for a game.

I’m not going to spoil the ending to Training Day, but it has the kind of power that makes the reader feel incredible pain.

I don’t write authors, but I did Alexie. I told him “you broke my heart” and not much more than that.

Of course, I didn’t hear back from him. I didn’t expect it. But if I ever write something that moved someone as much as this story did me, I would want to know.


2 thoughts on “Sherman Alexie Breaks My Heart

  1. Anonymous says:

    He is one of my number one favorite authors. I even follow him on twitter. Met him at a talk at UMass a couple of years ago. He is wonderful, funny, and amazing.

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