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American Dirt

American Dirt

Book - 2020 | First U.S. edition.
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l
Llaureys66
Apr 19, 2021

American Dirt is a tragic story of survival. Lydia and her son make the harrowing journey el Norte while facing many obstacles. I was anxious to finish this book but at the same time afraid to see how their journey ends. As far as the controversy is concerned, I believe this is a work of fiction and should be read as such.

Too grim to read.

s
spudwil
Apr 15, 2021

Compelling, fast paced story. I finished it in a weekend. Couldn’t put it down!

n
nancybos
Apr 12, 2021

"A Grapes of Wrath" for our times by Don Winslow is the blurb on the cover of American Dirt. I'm sorry, this is not anywhere close to Steinbeck's classic in my opinion. I found the writing very simplistic and cliche-ridden. So much so that I gave up reading it after 80 pages. I appreciate the author's intent, but this novel did not resonate with me.

k
Katecimone
Apr 03, 2021

Good story, read as fiction, had no expectations going into it.

p
Patricia45B
Mar 23, 2021

This book is intense! Heart pounding, exactly! I had to switch to an Anne Tyler book every few chapters just to calm myself down. This is an unforgetable, amazing book, one of the best I've read in years. Don't read it before bed!

k
king5683
Mar 22, 2021

Powerful. Compelling. Timely.

b
book27
Mar 18, 2021

Heart-pounding, takes you along for the ride.

m
mclarjh
Mar 15, 2021

Melodramatic; inauthentic; for general audience.

c
celiawhite99
Mar 01, 2021

Great book! Compelling story about a Mex migrant and her son escaping the cartel to get to American soil.

h
hboening
Feb 24, 2021

This book is a roller coaster of emotions and really challenges you and makes you ask "what would you do if you were in Lydia's shoes?"

c
CarlaCS
Feb 17, 2021

No doubt, Cummins can write. American Dirt was a page-turner from front cover to the end. The story is tightly told; no wasted description, dialogue, or scenes. Its unfortunate---perhaps even a crime against literature---that the novel has been criticized because the author is not of "approved" heritage or color: how ridiculous is that? It is unforgiveable that in her post-script, the author bows down to those criticisms and tries to justify herself. Nonsense! The work stands on its own and should be judged on its own. It matters not who wrote it, where they are from, what color they are, what gender they are, or who their ancestors are. Judge the book. Judge. The. Book. Had I read her mea-not-really-sorta-culpa before I'd read the book, I likely would have been so disgusted I wouldn't have read the book.

One criticism I have of the book is the author's choice <spoiler alert> to have no one on the migrant trail be a person with criminal intentions (except those pursuing the heroine and her son). There are no drug dealers seeking new customers, there are no gang members seeking access to new territory in the US, there are no murderers seeking anonymity across the border---everyone is an innocent victim with only the most noble of intentions. And as anyone with experience in the field can tell you, that is quite simply not true...not the case. I don't think the author does this out of naivete; I think she does it out of political ideology. So be it. It's her book. But it takes away from the realism that she so desperately pretends to want to be portraying.

h
hoskerd
Feb 17, 2021

Recommended by Beth

f
feralranger
Feb 17, 2021

I was aware of the controversy surrounding this book before I read it but it is fiction and I read it on that level. If it were non-fiction I would expect it to be taken apart tooth and nail but it is an invented story based on 4 years of authors research. If I can relate to a character/s in any work of fiction than I'll follow their story to the end and if it is a good one I won't bother with the pedantic take that others may have formulated.
This is a good story but it is way over the top dramatic and sometimes I thought it was too much especially near the end. Is it the Grapes of Wrath for a generation? Uh, I won't go that far even if the book cover does.

p
posie12
Feb 16, 2021

I had just read "On The Plain of Snakes", so the story rings true. I still found it difficult to read. Maybe the fact that Mexico is still a third world country catering to the drug addicted North. Question : Why is Mexican Government so corrupt?

j
jbr722
Feb 14, 2021

I JUST FINISHED THIS BOOK AND FELT THE AUTHOR OF THIS BOOK DID A VERY GOOD JOB IN CREATING THE PEOPLE SHE PROTRATED IN THIS BOOK. IN READING THIS BOOK I CAN FEEL THE MIRGRANT FEARS AND HOW MUCH THEY RISK TO MAKE A BETTER LIFE FOR THEMSELVES HERE IN THE US. IT SHOWS YOU THE CRIME AND CARTELS THOUGHOUT ALL OF MEXICO.
THIS IS SOMETHING MOST AMERICANS REALLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND. THIS SHOULD BE
A MUST READ EVEN THOUGH THE PEOPLE ARE FICTIONAL I THINK THE AUTHOR DID SOME
RESEARCH TO HAVE INSIGHT INTO MEXICO AND THE CRIME AND CARTELS. SHE MADE
YOU FEEL THE STUGGLES OF THE INDIVIDAL MIGRANTS AND REASON FOR THE JOURNEY
NORTH TO AMERICA FOR A BETTER LIFE. I ENJOYED THIS BOOK VERY MUCH.

o
OPL_Cvana
Feb 09, 2021

What to do when you lose nearly everyone in your family? This is the dramatic story of a mother and child who flee for their own lives from Mexico to the United States. Their lives suddenly transformed from upper middle class to that of migrants seeking refuge -- what they encounter on their journey is both harrowing, and redeeming of humanity.

a
annagraceiaboni
Feb 07, 2021

Excellent read. Harrowing.

b
Bududo
Jan 31, 2021

This is a well written and evenly paced adventure story tracing the escape by a mother and her 8 year old boy from a murderous cartel in Acapulco Mexico and their trek to the illegal entry into the United States. The author is clearly conveying several messages that she never misses to press home: first is the plight of the Latino migrants that is driving them to cross over into the United States, second the variation of characters that defy stereotyping of the migrants, and third that women can be resourceful and resilient in the face of adversity. The author, however, works too hard to drive home the messages and in places forces dialogue that simply is not very credible and results in the overall narrative suffering.

r
Rokaly
Jan 29, 2021

A frightening Mexican migrant experience of a woman and her young son fleeing the omnipresent cartel in Mexico headed to the U.S. I thought Lydia's relationship with Javier was rather disconcerting. An easy read, simply written, with the exception of the off-putting italicized Spanish. The entire cultural appropriation argument is also a concern, but the story needs to be told.

c
cookiebag
Jan 28, 2021

Lesley 2021

c
Catv413
Jan 26, 2021

While the characters are fictional, accounts of what migrants must overcome within the borders or their own country isn't. The violence consuming many areas of Mexico/Central America are real. It was eye-opening to read of the internal corruption that consumes and destroys once beautiful and peaceful places. I have a better understanding of the plight to trek to the US and regardless if the author is a migrant herself (with all the discussion around this book), she is extremely talented in her writing.

k
KeanS
Jan 25, 2021

This book is well written and a real page turner. I would definitely recommend it. One of the best books I've read in a while.

l
Liselara
Jan 25, 2021

I have no idea why so many people loved this book. First of all, I would tell the author that if she is going to write a book in English and pepper it constantly with Spanish, please provide accurate and full translations. Don't expect readers to look everything up; that's just lazy writing. Next, when I see novelists like Stephen King, Kristin Hannah (and others) give high praise with generic comments, I wonder if they even read it. Then, the son, Luca, is given the wisdom of an 80 year old (instead of 8). Cummins could have provided a map. Again, the reader has to look up the journey and try to make sense of
the escape routes the characters chose to follow from Acapulco to the United States. From my point of view, it seems like the author recorded a lot of testimonials and wrote a composite story of strife and sacrifices suffered by others trying to get out of Mexico and other destinations in Central America. What on earth makes everyone think that it's so much better being in the United States? Or even Canada?

0
0424pat
Jan 19, 2021

Escape the Mexican cartel and make trip to USA. Rugged. Great book.


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