Lydia's husband is a journalist dedicated to eradicating the scourge of drugs in Mexico. When he and fifteen other family members are massacred, Lydia is forced to flee her comfortable life in Acapulco with her eight-year-old son. Their only hope is to begin a grueling trek toward the relative safety of the United States. It is, as she is told, "a path for people with no choice." The author is so skilled at drawing us into the narrative, we instinctively sense the impending danger posed by every stranger, swelter in the unrelenting assault of the desert sun, and fight succumbing to despair when one more step seems beyond the realm of human endurance . This is an unforgettable journey, as topical as today's headlines.— Alden Graves
Imagine you are hosting a birthday party for your fifteen-year old niece in your home in your pleasant middle class neighborhood. Your whole family is there in the backyard. It’s a cookout. Gunmen walk into the yard and shoot everybody. They murder your whole family—your spouse, your mother, cousins. Sixteen in all. But by blind luck you survive because you are hidden in the house at the time of the ambush. You and your eight-year old son. If you linger one hour more in your house, in your hometown, you know with complete certainty you and your son will be murdered. Never mind the police. Your only chance to survive is to flee two thousand miles to the neighboring country to the north. This is the fiction that is the truth that Jeanine Cummins has created in her explosive novel. For the love of humanity, read it. — Stan Hynds
“If it's only a better life you seek, seek it elsewhere...This path is only for people who have no choice, no other option, only violence and misery behind you..”. It is hard to exactly put into words the profound impact that this poignant, epic telling of a migrant’s arduous journey had on me. It is a beautifully written and timely book that puts a human face on those seeking asylum. Heart-wrenching and filled with humanity. You will never look at this issue the same again, I know I won’t. EVERYONE should read this book!— Tambra Johnson Reap
While there is a lot of controversy regarding this book, looking at it simply as a fiction novel telling a story, I thought it did a great job. The opening chapter immediately pulls you in, and from there out this book is a fast-paced on-the-run life or death thriller. The basis of the plot is about migrants making the dangerous trek to el norte, but it’s the impactful emotions of grief, fear, love and determination that make this a memorable story. I especially loved Lydia and her devotion to keeping her son Luca safe, who was a memorable character all on his own.
At the end of the day, this book is still a work of fiction. Some of the arguments against this book could be valid, and others may not be. But for me, it made me feel for the people who have to actually go through this journey and made me want to learn more, to be educated on this very important topic. — Kirstin Swartz
“American Dirt is a beautiful, heartbreaking odyssey, a vivid world filled with angels and demons, one I only wanted to leave so I could get my heart out of my throat. Cartel violence sends a mother and her son careening north from Acapulco toward the relative safety of the United States, and every moment of their journey is rendered in frantic, sublime detail. Danger lurks around the corner of every paragraph, but so does humanity, empathy, and stunning acts of human kindness. You will feel the toll of every mile, the cost of every bullet, and the power of every page. A wonder.”
— Thatcher Svekis, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Santa Monica, CA
"This book is not simply the great American novel; it's the great novel of las Americas. It's the great world novel This is the international story of our times. Masterful."
Tambi n de este lado hay sue os. On this side too, there are dreams.
Lydia Quixano P rez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.
Even though she knows they'll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy--two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia's husband's tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia--trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier's reach doesn't extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.
Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.