“Saving my life”
“The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me,” by Sherman Alexie, is the narrative of a young Indian boy from Spokane with an affinity for literature, stemming from the witnessing of his father’s love of books. Born in 1966 on the Spokane Indian Reservation, Sherman Alexie was three years old when he picked up his first book: a Superman comic. He is unable to remember the issue of the comic book or what it was about. Reading was the path to saving his life.
Alexie remembers picking up one of his father’s books when he was younger and not being able to understand the words. The words were foreign, but he knows the exact day the he understood the purpose of a paragraph, stating, “I realized that a paragraph was a fence that held words. The words inside a paragraph worked together for a common purpose” (Alexie 12).This knowledge excited him and he began looking at all aspects of life as a paragraph. The content of Alexie’s essay derived from the lives of his immediate family, including his mother, father, older brother, deceased sister, younger twin sisters, and adopted brother.
Alexie’s favorite pastime was reading. He would read late into the night, during recess, lunch, in the car, and after he finished his school assignments. He would read cereal boxes, junk mail, auto repair manuals, and anything that had words and paragraphs. “I read with equal parts joy and desperation. I loved those books, but I also knew that love had one purpose. I was trying to save my life” says, Sherman Alexie (14).
Alexie’s father’s favorite pastime was reading, as he would purchase books from second hand stores such as the Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Value Village. Their house was filled with many different genres of literature, murder mysteries, gangster epics, spy thrillers, biographies. Before Alexie gained the ability to read, he would simply pick up his fathers’ books. In phases in life in which his father encountered unemployment, spare funds he...