Alexie is a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian born and raised in the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. His father held various jobs, including truck driver and logger and his mother was a social worker. Alexie was born hydrocephalic and underwent a brain operation at the age of 6 months, but was not expected to survive. When he did live, doctors predicted he would live with severe mental retardation. Although spared this, he did suffer through seizures and bed-wetting throughout his childhood. Preferring to stay inside, he developed a love for reading, liking Steinbeck as a five-year-old. Alexie faced alcoholism for five years before becoming sober at 23. He graduated with honors from Reardan High, where he was the only Indian. Alexie planned to be a doctor until he "fainted three times in human anatomy class" and stumbled into a poetry workshop at Washington State University. He attened Gonzaga University in Spokane on a scholarship and graduated in American Studies from Washington State. Alexie received two prestigious fellowships and soon after cranked out eleven books, placing the number of his total pieces of work at over 300.