American Dirt

American Dirt

Book - 2020
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"También de este lado hay sueños. Lydia Quixano Perez 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 four 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 when they finish reading it. A page-turner filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page, it is a literary achievement."--
Publisher: New York, New York : Flatiron Books, 2020.
Copyright Date: ©2019.
ISBN: 9781250209764
9781250754080
Characteristics: 386 pages :,colour map ;,24 cm.

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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.

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VaughanPLTiziana Oct 26, 2020

"Lydia is dubious at first, but if you can't trust a librarian, who can you trust?" -pg. 375

w
weaverleeanna
Apr 06, 2020

"Every day a fresh horror, and when it's over, this feeling of surreal detachment. A disbelief, almost, in what they just endured. The mind is magical. Human beings are magical.”

c
cknightkc
Mar 03, 2020

“There’s a wonderful piece of graffiti on the border wall in Tijuana…. TAMBIÉN DE ESTE LADO HAY SUEÑOS. On this side, too, there are dreams.” - Author’s Note p. 383

c
cknightkc
Mar 03, 2020

“That these people would leave their homes, their cultures, their families, even their languages, and venture into tremendous peril, risking their very lives, all for the chance to get to the dream of some faraway country that doesn’t even want them.” - p. 94

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Mich321
Nov 12, 2020

Mich321 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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