American Dirt
Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.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.American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a page-turner; it is a literary achievement; it is filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.

American Dirt Details

TitleAmerican Dirt
Author
ReleaseJan 21st, 2020
PublisherFlatiron Books
ISBN-139781250209764
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary

American Dirt Review

  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    What a mind blowing beginning of a book! A mother, Lydia and her little boy, Luca hid themselves in the bathtub for not being other victims of family massacre. The contract killers/ most dangerous drug-lord’s dirtbags kept looking for them, firing their guns, calling their names. And finally they thought they were not at the house so they left the place and 16 innocent victims behind. Now mother and her son have to leave the country for staying alive because one of the powerful men is chasing What a mind blowing beginning of a book! A mother, Lydia and her little boy, Luca hid themselves in the bathtub for not being other victims of family massacre. The contract killers/ most dangerous drug-lord’s dirtbags kept looking for them, firing their guns, calling their names. And finally they thought they were not at the house so they left the place and 16 innocent victims behind. Now mother and her son have to leave the country for staying alive because one of the powerful men is chasing them and he is determined to finish his massacre that he already started. The man, Javier Crespo Fuentes, once upon a time he was her friend. They talked about books, shared their secrets, formed a close relationship till one day Lydia’s reporter husband Sebastian wrote an article about Javier…The day the article had published their life’s direction had also traumatically changed. So now, Lydia’s husband, mother, sister and her children are dead! Only she and her son stayed alive from vengeful attack of the cartel. And now their thrilling, heartbreaking, dangerous journey begins. They race against the time, authorities and killers at the same time. So keep still at the edge of your seats and take deep breathes to calm your nerves! This book will increase your heart rates and blow your mind by making you agitated, anxious but stop squirming nervously, just keep on reading, don’t you want to know what will happen to those innocent mother and her brilliant, smart son?Let me tell you something, they say: “destination not important but the journey” but this time it works quite opposite at this book because throughout this long journey, the mother and son walked, hid, slept in different places, ran from dangerous people, jumped into the trains, put their lives in danger, met with different people who had amazing experiences and life stories. This journey makes you up all night to read more, learn more, ache more, fists clenched, eyes filled in tears. You whisper prayers slowly to wish the characters can escape from the real monsters are living in our modern world. Not only mother and son but the people they’ve met especially the sisters helped them will always stay in my heart and soul forever because they’re so realistically developed, well-build characters who have heart-wrenching stories. I think instead of the beginning of this story, author’s note part is also impressive. It summarizes all those people including me who came to this land to chase their dreams, deal with our disappointments and learn from our mistakes to try again. On the border wall of Tijuana, there is wonderful piece of graffiti. When the author feel faltered or discouraged, she clicks to her desktop and look at those words: “On this side, too, there are dreams”Everyone has different dreams but sometimes making too many sacrifices and leaving your old lives and old selves behind might be too tough and compelling for you so sometimes you just procrastinate or give up on them. This book could be dedicated to the dreamers who are brave enough to leave, who have nothing to lose, make so much sacrifices and pay so many dues to fight with everything they have and finally reach their destinations! Maybe it is too early to say that but I think this will be one of the most stunning, impressive and fascinating readings of 2020.Special thanks to Netgalley and Flatiron Book for sharing this amazing ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review!
    more
  • Felicia
    January 1, 1970
    No doubt this will be THE book of 2020.The Where The Crawdads Sing book of 2020.I've never read Crawdads and I wouldn't have read American Dirt if not so kindly offered the opportunity by the publisher. This is so far from my usual genre.Give me a thriller any day.I want to feel compelled to flip the pages while balancing on the edge of my seat.I want to lose sleep because I can't put a book down, a heart racing, just one more chapter type of story. AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I GOT WITH THIS BOOK. No doubt this will be THE book of 2020.The Where The Crawdads Sing book of 2020.I've never read Crawdads and I wouldn't have read American Dirt if not so kindly offered the opportunity by the publisher. This is so far from my usual genre.Give me a thriller any day.I want to feel compelled to flip the pages while balancing on the edge of my seat.I want to lose sleep because I can't put a book down, a heart racing, just one more chapter type of story. AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I GOT WITH THIS BOOK.This book was nothing like what I was expecting and everything I could ever hope for. Cummins has written a gripping and compelling narrative that every American should read. Unfortunately, those that need this message the most will refuse this book out of spite and/or the inability to read.☝️If that statement offends you, then you are exactly who it is directed towards.** Thank you Hachette Australia for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. **
    more
  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    This is a timely and powerful portrayal of the plight of the migrant. An innocent mother and her young son desperately and illegally attempt to enter the US from Mexico while fleeing from a cartel. The beginning is brutal and the tension never ceases. The cartel’s savagery is not the focus of the novel but it is the impetus. At its heart, this is a novel about victims and there are victims aplenty. No one is to be trusted. Although, amid much cold-blooded barbarity and those out to make quick This is a timely and powerful portrayal of the plight of the migrant. An innocent mother and her young son desperately and illegally attempt to enter the US from Mexico while fleeing from a cartel. The beginning is brutal and the tension never ceases. The cartel’s savagery is not the focus of the novel but it is the impetus. At its heart, this is a novel about victims and there are victims aplenty. No one is to be trusted. Although, amid much cold-blooded barbarity and those out to make quick buck at the expense of the downtrodden, there are good souls who provide food, water, and shelter to the migrants. Be prepared to read this with your heart in your throat. I know of a certain occupant of the White House who would benefit greatly from reading this book but, alas, he does not read. Let’s hope American Dirt opens the eyes of others.
    more
  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 StarsBeginning at the end, or perhaps more accurately – after the end of the story, for a change. In the Author’s Note at the end of the story, Cummins writes: ”As I traveled and researched, even the notion of the American dream began to feel proprietary. There’s a wonderful piece of graffiti on the border wall in Tijuana that became, for me, the engine of this whole endeavor. I photographed it and made it my computer wallpaper. Anytime I faltered or felt discouraged, I clicked back to my 4.5 StarsBeginning at the end, or perhaps more accurately – after the end of the story, for a change. In the Author’s Note at the end of the story, Cummins writes: ”As I traveled and researched, even the notion of the American dream began to feel proprietary. There’s a wonderful piece of graffiti on the border wall in Tijuana that became, for me, the engine of this whole endeavor. I photographed it and made it my computer wallpaper. Anytime I faltered or felt discouraged, I clicked back to my desktop and looked at it: ‘También de este lado hay sueños.’ “On this side, too, there are dreams.” While there is much about this that seems painfully current, a story I would not be shocked to hear about through some Breaking News report which seem to occur much more often lately, it would be easy to forget the news is most often comprised of facts and figures and – especially lately – to be slanted to one side, politically, or the other. But this story is filled with a truth that needs, deserved to be shared, one that fuels the heart and soul of this book. It is a story about people enduring the worst, people who are so desperate for a life that doesn’t involve having to worry every day, every minute about the next minute, that they leave their home, friends and family for a dream. A dream that may, in reality, become their worst nightmare.The opening chapter grabbed me and pulled me in, an event occurs as this begins that prompts a mother and her young son to leave their home in Acapulco to escape the men who killed the other members of their family. Desperately anxious to make their way to a place of safety they need to head to the United States, but there are few people that she feels that she can turn to for help. They’re on their own. There’s an edge to this story that kept me reading, I cared about these people and wanted to see their dream come true, a dream for a life free of the sort of dangers that they’d fled. I wanted to see them reach a place of peace, and to see the possibility that their dreams might come true. A very timely read that moved me, shook me to the core, this is filled with heartache, as well as humanity, the kindness of strangers. While there is a struggle for their survival, and heartache, it is the fierce determination of a mother determined to give her child the best life she can, along with some exceptional, inspired writing, that moves this story along at an almost unputdownable pace. This is already in the works for a film, which will be brought to you by Imperative Entertainment, and yet, this book hasn’t even been published, yet. Do yourself a favour and read it first. Pub Date: 21 Jan 2020Many thanks for the ARC provided by Flatiron Books through the Goodreads Giveaway program!
    more
  • Anne Bogel
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this was absolutely fantastic and I can't wait for everyone I know to read it so we can talk about it together. If you follow me, you know I have a sweet spot for what I like to call "compulsively readable literary fiction." This is it.
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    A beautifully written and timely story that is suspenseful, compelling and deeply affecting. SUMMARYIn a pleasant Acapulco neighborhood, gunmen slaughter 16 people at a family barbecue. From a grandmother, to the young girl who was celebrating her quinceañera, they are all dead. The only survivors were Lydia, a young mother and her eight-year-old son, Luca. Lydia knew they must run as fast and as far as possible. Among the dead is Sebastian, Lydia‘s husband, a well-known journalist who had just A beautifully written and timely story that is suspenseful, compelling and deeply affecting. SUMMARYIn a pleasant Acapulco neighborhood, gunmen slaughter 16 people at a family barbecue. From a grandmother, to the young girl who was celebrating her quinceañera, they are all dead. The only survivors were Lydia, a young mother and her eight-year-old son, Luca. Lydia knew they must run as fast and as far as possible. Among the dead is Sebastian, Lydia‘s husband, a well-known journalist who had just published a featured article on Javier Crespo Fuentes, the leader of the local cartel, Los Jardineros. That article is the reason that her entire family is dead.Reeling from shock, Lydia know she has to leave Acapulco immediately, and go somewhere the cartels cannot reach. Lydia knows Fuentes, and actually thought he was a friend. But now she knows he will be looking for her. She trusts no one and is constantly looking over her shoulder. The cartel is everywhere. She will do whatever it takes to keep her son safe. Lydia and Luca’s harrowing 1,600 mile journey to el norte begins with a terrifying bus ride. Along the way they meet sisters, Soledad and Rebeca, who teach them what they need to know to ride the trains. They also meet ten-year-old Beto, who was born in a dump in Tijuana, but has the uncanny ability to make them all laugh when things are at their worst. It’s unlikely that all of them will survive the journey. REVIEWAMERICAN DIRT is a beautifully told story of the drastic lengths a mother will go to protect her child. The book was both terrifying and riveting. Lydia and Luca’s journey is harrowing and frightening. I felt as if I walked every step with Lydia. The descriptions of her emotions brought out in the story was impressive. Her shock and panic during and after the massacre, her courage and vulnerability on the road, and her strength and intelligence to do what it took to keep her son safe was heroic. One of life pleasure is when a book totally surprises you with how good it is. This is one of those books. It’s a story that enlightens and educate us about the dangers so many are facing in Mexico as the power of the drug cartels increases. The dangers are real and their lives are at stake. The choice is difficult, do they stay in the home they know and love and die, or do they want to survive. Author Jeanine Cummins the wife of a formerly undocumented immigrant started the novel to give a face to the migrants at the Mexican border. She is the author of three other books: The Outside Boys (2010), and The Crooked Branch (2013) and her best-selling memoir A Rip in Heaven (2004). She lives on New York with her husband and two children. Cummings is interested in characters who suffer inconceivable hardship, and people who manage to triumph over extraordinary trauma, characters like Lydia and Soledad. While writing this book she asks the questions: how would I manage if I lived in a place that began to collapse around me, and If my children were in danger, how far would I go to save them? Those are the questions this book answers. Publisher FlatIron BooksPublished January 21,2020Review www.bluestockingreviews.com
    more
  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Oh this book.I wasn’t going to review for a while given that this is a 2020 publication but American Dirt is one of those books you finish and immediately need to talk about. So a short sharp review now then when next year rolls around trust me, I’ll be back. Annoying y’all until you read it.American Dirt is impeccably researched which gives it full flavour but the beauty and the horror of it all comes across because the writing, the sense of it, is stunningly authentic. It hits you right in the Oh this book.I wasn’t going to review for a while given that this is a 2020 publication but American Dirt is one of those books you finish and immediately need to talk about. So a short sharp review now then when next year rolls around trust me, I’ll be back. Annoying y’all until you read it.American Dirt is impeccably researched which gives it full flavour but the beauty and the horror of it all comes across because the writing, the sense of it, is stunningly authentic. It hits you right in the heart from the incredibly powerful opening to the tear inducing finale and that’s not even taking into account the interim journey, one mother and her son desperately seeking safety..There is truth here. Horrific truth but also love and hope and everything in between. Inhale this like I did and the next time you read those click bait headlines you’ll see them in an entirely new light. A human one.Don’t miss it. Or look away. Highly Recommended.
    more
  • Terry Mitchell
    January 1, 1970
    If you read nothing else in 2020, let it be American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. It is a must-read! Lydia and her son Luca are at a relative's quinceneara (birthday party for a 15 year old) when a cartel shoots and kills the other 16 members of their family present. Lydia and Luca survive by hiding in a shower. Lydia is acquainted with the leader of this cartel; she knows she and her son were also supposed to die today. What follows in the wake of this horrific event is Lydia and Luca's If you read nothing else in 2020, let it be American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. It is a must-read! Lydia and her son Luca are at a relative's quinceneara (birthday party for a 15 year old) when a cartel shoots and kills the other 16 members of their family present. Lydia and Luca survive by hiding in a shower. Lydia is acquainted with the leader of this cartel; she knows she and her son were also supposed to die today. What follows in the wake of this horrific event is Lydia and Luca's thousand-plus-mile journey to el norte (the USA) to reach safety. Along the way, we met several other characters, all with their individual stories, some nearly as awful.This book rocked me to my core. I know people who have lived through the migrant experience. You see, I was married to an illegal immigrant. In fact, I lived in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, from 2003 - 2004 with my now ex-husband, throughout my pregnancy and the first few months of our daughter's life. The cartels' reach wasn't what it is now, but it was an ever present worry, and violence was rife in Juarez. We were stopped on multiple occasions by corrupt cops; we paid our share of bribes; my ex was assaulted after we'd had a night out. We had the license plate number of the car belonging to the group of people who assaulted him. The cops did nothing. They didn't even take a report. All of this was towards the beginning of the cartels' reign. It's only gotten worse. All of the above affects my ability to connect to the characters in American Dirt. Don't get me wrong, however. It is not all horrific. This eye-opening story scrutinizes the migrant experience, in all of its exhilirating moments and many of the horror-story moments, as well. You will chuckle, feel astonished, horrified, furious, and you will cry. You will experience nearly every emotion under the sun reading this book.With the situation at our border, this book is a must-read for citizens of the United States. Most readers already comprehend our government's and many people's takes on it. Read this to learn the other side of the story. Read this to understand that the group of people at the border is not just a faceless brown mass, but full of unique individuals who all have their own unique story. Read this - period.Thanks go to Jeanine Cummins for writing this masterpiece and Flatiron books for publishing this and providing me with an advance reader's copy. The opinions above are all my own.
    more
  • Sarah-Hope
    January 1, 1970
    American Dirt is not an easy read, but it's an engrossing, important one. This book tells the story of several migrants making their way through Mexico, hoping to enter the U.S. For most of them, the journey begins with violence. The central characters, Lydia and Luca, are the only survivors of a drug cartel massacre that kills sixteen members of the same family. Convinced that the cartel will continue to hunt them, Lydia flees home and the bookstore she runs in Acapulco with her eight-year-old American Dirt is not an easy read, but it's an engrossing, important one. This book tells the story of several migrants making their way through Mexico, hoping to enter the U.S. For most of them, the journey begins with violence. The central characters, Lydia and Luca, are the only survivors of a drug cartel massacre that kills sixteen members of the same family. Convinced that the cartel will continue to hunt them, Lydia flees home and the bookstore she runs in Acapulco with her eight-year-old son Luca. Suddenly she finds herself having to make life-or-death decisions—without any secure options—on a daily basis. Alternately walking and riding on the roof of a freight train "La Bestia," Lydia and Luca meet a pair of sisters, Soledad and Rebecca, ages fifteen and fourteen, who are fleeing their home in Honduras, again due to cartel violence. They face the threat of sexual assault constantly—and find themselves themselves in situations where the assaults are brutally real, not just threatened.The people these four meet on their journey represent some of the best—and the absolute worst—humanity has to offer. There are villagers who toss food to those riding La Bestia, despite having very little themselves. Others who provide a hiding place in a desperate moment. Churches that open their doors to migrants. But there are also those who hunt the migrants, seeing them as easy targets for violence or commodities to be sold to the highest bidder.At a time when we are being fed a bigoted narrative of "bad hombres" crossing our border, American Dirt comes as a necessary, if brutal, response. Yes, as American Dirt makes clear, those bad hombres exist, but the vast majority of migrants are people like Lydia, Luca, Soledad, and Rebecca, fleeing the unbearable and dreaming of nothing more than a chance to live simple, honest lives. It is time for the stories of these migrants to be told—and told in a way that honors the dignity of the desperate moving north in whatever way they can.I received a free electronic review copy of this book from the publisher and via NetGalley. The opinions are my own.
    more
  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    I was nine years old when I concluded that being a writer was the most important career in the world because books could make us cry and laugh and dream and envision another reality. The idea of being an art teacher or a music teacher or someone dedicated to God dropped by the wayside. I wanted to be a writer because of the great power of the pen, the way books change lives.A book like American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins exemplifies the wisdom of the nine-year-old me. For in telling the riveting I was nine years old when I concluded that being a writer was the most important career in the world because books could make us cry and laugh and dream and envision another reality. The idea of being an art teacher or a music teacher or someone dedicated to God dropped by the wayside. I wanted to be a writer because of the great power of the pen, the way books change lives.A book like American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins exemplifies the wisdom of the nine-year-old me. For in telling the riveting story of people who must leave their beloved homes to save their lives, Cummins gives faces to those we are told to fear, and when their stories move us we connect to the 'other' and experience our common humanity.The cover blurb calls this novel "The Grapes of Wrath for our time." Steinbeck's novel was published in 1939 and was an instant best-seller in spite of being labeled "socialist propaganda." The Depression and Dust Bowl had driven 5000,000 people to leave their homes and travel across America, hoping to find work--to just survive. Steinbeck showed America who these migrants were, how they were treated, how they suffered on their journey.Today's migrants also flee for their lives, not because of environmental degradation has destroyed their livelihood, but because of violence and lawlessness and human trafficking. They just want the freedom to survive.American Dirt begins with an explosive chapter of horror and violence, with Lydia and her eight-year-old son Lucas in hiding, listening to the sound of sixteen family members being murdered. The choices made by Lydia and her journalist husband Sebastian brought them to this moment. Lydia was drawn to befriend Javier, a patron in her bookstore, unaware he was the head of a deadly cartel. And Sebastian wrote an expose' on Javier for his newspaper.As Lydia and Lucas flee and make their way from Acapulco north they accumulate a rag-tag family, Soledad and Rebeca, sisters from the idyllic cloud forest now controlled by a cartel, and Beto, a world-wise child from the garbage dumps. Other travelers exemplify the diversity of migrants--a teen trying to escape the cartel, men who go north for work, a grad student brought to America as a child, a middle-class mother in America legally who is arrested during her routine check-in.These people encounter all the terrors of the migrant journey, learning to scramble onto moving trains, hunger and thirst and weariness, continual fear, capture and ransom, rape, abuse--and the charity of helpers. I was literally brought to tears when a man escorts Lydia, Lucas, and the sisters through town, protecting them with his size and machete. When asked why he did this for migrants he replied, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink," with Lydia finishing, "A stranger and you welcomed me."I spent my entire adult life as the wife of a clergyman. I know both scripture and what is required of us and the many ways we justify our actions--or inactions-- our sins of commission and omission. The ways we twist things, grab onto worldly values to sidestep doing what is right.I also have seen how true faith is risk and perilous and how false faith separates, judges, and protects one's self-interest. History teaches that silence is consent, inaction is approval. Something must stir the public's heart. Nothing does that like a good story.The Grapes of Wrath caught Eleanor Roosevelt's attention and she called for the government to look into migrant camp conditions. As Susan Shillinglaw notes, “Empathy is the signature of the book—an empathetic response to human suffering."And that is what American Dirt accomplishes.I received a free egalley from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.
    more
  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    How do I even begin to do justice to a book that is so brilliantly-written, harrowing, poignant, thought-provoking, strongly-plotted and heart-stopping?Perhaps with this: American Dirt is one of those rare books that will not only galvanize readers with its story and with its characters, but also change the way we think about our human condition. At this sad juncture in American history where desperate people who are fleeing for their lives are portrayed as a homogeneous brown mass clamoring for How do I even begin to do justice to a book that is so brilliantly-written, harrowing, poignant, thought-provoking, strongly-plotted and heart-stopping?Perhaps with this: American Dirt is one of those rare books that will not only galvanize readers with its story and with its characters, but also change the way we think about our human condition. At this sad juncture in American history where desperate people who are fleeing for their lives are portrayed as a homogeneous brown mass clamoring for benefits they haven’t earned, Jeanine Cummins breathes life and humanity into her characters.At the center of the book is Lydia, an educated and thoughtful woman who owns a bookstore in Acapulco, married to a muckraking journalist. When (in the first few pages), her family is butchered in a massacre by a fear-inspiring Mexican cartel, Lydia and her eight-year-old son, Luca, must flee to “el norte” – or succumb to an unimaginable fate.This author—herself the wife of an undocumented immigrant—vividly narrates a dangerous path forward where any stranger may, in fact, be an assassin and where every decision might be an instrument of death. Lydia and Luca’s harrowing journey across a lethal freight train nicknamed “La Bestia” and a dangerous border crossing that had my heart in my throat is reason enough to read this book.But the plot itself is not the thrust of Jeanine Cummins’ story. She goes in search of deeper territory: how do we survive the unfathomable? How do we retain any spark of humanity when the world keeps revealing itself as predatory and evil? By no means is the book relentlessly dark; there is a solidarity among the migrants and kind people to give them emotional and spiritual strength. Some of them, Ms. Cummins writes,”share their stories carefully, selectively, finding a faithful ear and then changing their words like prayers Other migrants are like blown-open grenades, telling their anguish compulsively to everyone they meet, dispensing their pain like shrapnel..” As the land to the norte – OUR land – increasingly excludes moral and humanitarian concerns and greedily hoards its resources, avenues are cut off to cartel victims who courageously do what they must to stay alive. As the author says, “Tambien de este lado hay suenos” or, in English, “On this side, too, there are dreams.”My deepest thanks to Davina at BookBrowse for getting this book into my hands. For those who haven’t heard of bookbrowse.com, you need to get acquainted with it. It’s one of my go-to sources for “what to read next.”
    more
  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    A big thank you to Amy Einhorn for an early copy of this book. I have no doubt this will be the “big book of the moment” when it is released in January. Personally I loved it. The author Jeanine Cummins has a gift for characterization and solid writing skills and she presented the illegal immigration story in a way I have not seen before….it was fresh and interesting throughout as we watch these people literally running for their lives.Mexico is complicated. I have no doubt that Cummins knows A big thank you to Amy Einhorn for an early copy of this book. I have no doubt this will be the “big book of the moment” when it is released in January. Personally I loved it. The author Jeanine Cummins has a gift for characterization and solid writing skills and she presented the illegal immigration story in a way I have not seen before….it was fresh and interesting throughout as we watch these people literally running for their lives.Mexico is complicated. I have no doubt that Cummins knows Mexico intimately but there is a pitfall in how she presents this story. Although Lydia and Luca have an unusual hook, too many people from the U.S. already believe that Mexico is an inherently dangerous place and the more that is hyped, the more travelers stay away and never see for themselves what a lovely, peaceful country it is nor the beauty of its people. Yes, there are citizens who become enemies of the cartels but for most tourists, they will never see this side of it or even realize anything is going on. I am always torn when Mexico is depicted as a brutal, dangerous place because this is truly the exception and I know it makes more people stay away and perpetuates the idea that our neighbors to the south are “the other”.Will this book get the love it deserves? I don’t know….I have had other readers tell me they are experiencing burnout with the immigration narrative….that they are feeling less engaged, less empathy so by January this story may have missed its moment. I sincerely hope that is not the case.
    more
  • Stacey A. Prose and Palate
    January 1, 1970
    There is no way that you will read this book and not be changed by it. Full review to come but easily one of the most thought provoking and stunning stories I have ever read. People will be talking about this work for years to come.
  • Tom Mooney
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure I have the words to express what a momentous book this is. There will be a lot of hype around it when it is published and all I can say is: Believe every single word of it.Don Winslow has called it a "Grapes of Wrath for our times" and I have to say I completely agree. Cummins has done for the Latin American migrant what Steinbeck did for the Okies. She has humanised their experience.The book opens with Lydia and her young son Luca cowering in their bathroom while Cartel thugs I'm not sure I have the words to express what a momentous book this is. There will be a lot of hype around it when it is published and all I can say is: Believe every single word of it.Don Winslow has called it a "Grapes of Wrath for our times" and I have to say I completely agree. Cummins has done for the Latin American migrant what Steinbeck did for the Okies. She has humanised their experience.The book opens with Lydia and her young son Luca cowering in their bathroom while Cartel thugs slaughter 16 members of their family in the garden outside. From there we follow mother and son as they travel north from Acapulco, desperate to reach the US border and escape.They meet many other migrants along the way, all running from tragedies of their own, as they hike through dusty desert, hole up at migrant centres and jump high speed freight trains.Theirs is a harrowing, tragic and deeply moving tale. But there is hope, too, and the odd flickers of kindness, compassion and comradeship that act as beacons on their journey. The love between mother and son is beautifully, fiercely rendered.There is a lot of fiction out there set around the US-Mexico border, much of it focussing on Cartel goons and CIA agents. But never before has the light been shone so acutely on the plight of the victims. This is the human side of the great crime novels like Winslow's The Power of the Dog.American Dirt is one of the greatest, most important books of recent years.
    more
  • Jennifer Blankfein
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! So timely, heartbreaking, and powerful. A fear induced adventure- the search for freedom- immigration, Mexico, drug cartels, and the power of common experience...I loved this journey! Preorder a copy today! Full review to come on Book Nation by Jen. https://booknationbyjen.com
    more
  • Cathy Branciforte
    January 1, 1970
    I would give this book 10 stars if I could! This is an amazing story about the journey of a mother and son to America after their entire family is murdered in Mexico. I won’t even try to describe the book because I could never do it justice, all I can say is everyone should read this. It is beautifully written and easily the best book I’ve read this year!Thank you to Flatiron Books and Netgalley for the advance digital review copy!
    more
  • Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    It took me a while to figure out how to write a review that would do this novel justice. This is single-handily one of the most important novels I have ever read in my long-reading life. The humanity grabs you by the throat and by the heart and does not let go. It is harrowing with the danger that the characters deal with and moving with the love that is so obvious between them; whether mother and son or strangers picked up along this desperate journey. This book is obviously prescient with the It took me a while to figure out how to write a review that would do this novel justice. This is single-handily one of the most important novels I have ever read in my long-reading life. The humanity grabs you by the throat and by the heart and does not let go. It is harrowing with the danger that the characters deal with and moving with the love that is so obvious between them; whether mother and son or strangers picked up along this desperate journey. This book is obviously prescient with the immigration crisis we are facing as a nation and the divisiveness that has taken hold of our country; sadly, I don't think it will change the minds of those so rooted in their racism and bigotry. Cummins goal of not seeing immigrants as a "brown mass" is accomplished with mastery but those who think that immigrants are evil in some way, will be missing out on an opportunity to change for the better, to seize an opportunity to become a better person. The humanity of this story, the heartache, the undeniable requirement to survive are so beautifully portrayed that one forgets that Cummins is writing a novel weaved through with danger at every turn. The characters are luminous. The writing is brilliant. This is not a book you should just read, you MUST read it. Suggest it to your book clubs; it will make for amazing conversations. It should be required reading in all high school classes - these are facts that our children cannot be good citizens without being aware of. This book shook me and moved me to the core. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. As Cummins says, "Humans are magical"- this BOOK is magical. Please don't miss it.Thank you to Flatiron for an ARC that I was lucky enough to receive at this year's ALA conference. I will cherish it and it will stay in my library forever.
    more
  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Amy Einhorn at Flatiron Books for an advanced copy of American Dirt. This book put a face to all the migrants that we hear about in the news everyday. I believe if you read this book (and you should) that your perspective will change. Especially if you believe what our current president is saying about these people. You will walk away feeling sympathetic to their situation and have better understanding as to why so many are trying to find a better life in el Norte, the United Thank you to Amy Einhorn at Flatiron Books for an advanced copy of American Dirt. This book put a face to all the migrants that we hear about in the news everyday. I believe if you read this book (and you should) that your perspective will change. Especially if you believe what our current president is saying about these people. You will walk away feeling sympathetic to their situation and have better understanding as to why so many are trying to find a better life in el Norte, the United States. The first few pages of this book are horrifying, probably the most shocking beginning to a book that I have read ever! The main characters Lydia, Luca, Rebeca and Soledad will stay with me for a long time. I’m hoping for a sequel! This book will be published January 2020. Too bad it couldn’t have been published now.
    more
  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    Just extraordinary. An absolutely vital read for these times.
  • Molly Riportella
    January 1, 1970
    Jeanine Cumming's sophomore book, American Dirt, is an emotional literary thriller that contests the far-right's misrepresentation of the border crisis by chronicling the migration of a mother and her young son. American Dirt opens in media res with three members of an Acapulco cartel opening fire at a large family party while seven-year-old Luca is using the bathroom. Luca and his mother, Lydia escape the carnage by hiding in a shower, though the news of their survival reaches El Jefe once the Jeanine Cumming's sophomore book, American Dirt, is an emotional literary thriller that contests the far-right's misrepresentation of the border crisis by chronicling the migration of a mother and her young son. American Dirt opens in media res with three members of an Acapulco cartel opening fire at a large family party while seven-year-old Luca is using the bathroom. Luca and his mother, Lydia escape the carnage by hiding in a shower, though the news of their survival reaches El Jefe once the police arrive on scene. Under flagrant threat, Lydia and Luca leave their middle-class life in Acapulco and begin a traumatic journey to the border, evading not just the cartels, but also thieves, corrupt police, and others willing or forced into malevolent behavior by extreme violence and poverty. American Dirt's multiperspectivity captures Lydia's grief and maternal drive and Luca's innocence and tenacity as they flee to the United States alongside refugees from Central America and recent deportees, including a Dreamer, a Ph.D. student exiled over paperwork. Cumming's novel has the potential to reach Great American Novel status through its ethos, pathos, and readability. Literature has long served to illuminate reality as it is for others and a bridge political and societal divisions. Or, at a minimum, start a new national narrative, as The Grapes of Wrath did for Okies, tenement farmers and migrants. American Dirt is a must-read.
    more
  • Deb
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Amy Einhorn and Flatiron Books for gifting this advance copy at our Booktopia session. This is a must read for all, especially in our current political time. Jeanine Cummins tells us the story of a mother and son fleeing from their home, from their country into a journey for their life. I felt I was running, hiding, thirsty and hungry right along the characters. Each person you meet on this life and death journey you will never, ever forget. My stomach was in knots hoping our Thank you Amy Einhorn and Flatiron Books for gifting this advance copy at our Booktopia session. This is a must read for all, especially in our current political time. Jeanine Cummins tells us the story of a mother and son fleeing from their home, from their country into a journey for their life. I felt I was running, hiding, thirsty and hungry right along the characters. Each person you meet on this life and death journey you will never, ever forget. My stomach was in knots hoping our characters would make it over the border into the US, into safety and a new life.I will never forget these characters. I will see these characters as I watch the news with a heavier heart. (This book won't be out until January 2020)
    more
  • Katie Katieneedsabiggerbookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    American Dirt is the story of Lydia and her son Luca and the struggles they face that force them to leave their home and migrate to the United States. It is their journey, their hardships, the beautiful people they meet along the way, and the ugliest of people they meet along the way. I’m not going to dive any further into the synopsis, because I truly believe you should go in blind.Ok, you all know it’s rare for me to give 5 stars. What’s even rarer, is to read the first few pages of a novel American Dirt is the story of Lydia and her son Luca and the struggles they face that force them to leave their home and migrate to the United States. It is their journey, their hardships, the beautiful people they meet along the way, and the ugliest of people they meet along the way. I’m not going to dive any further into the synopsis, because I truly believe you should go in blind.Ok, you all know it’s rare for me to give 5 stars. What’s even rarer, is to read the first few pages of a novel and automatically know it is going to be a five star read. That is how I felt about this book. I was captured by page one, and it never let go. This book should be required reading for every single person in this country. The writing, the research, the story. All were beyond impeccably done. If you can read this book and still be ok with what happens at our borders (side note: I am not and never was) then I don’t even know what to say anymore. This book shows a different perspective, and honestly it’s one that most people ignore. This is one of the most important novels I have ever read. I will be passing this one around to anyone that I can force to read it until it is falling apart…and if you know me, you know I like my books pristine and rarely lend them out. This book is that important though. It needs to be read. I sit here writing this review with tears running down my face after finishing. I wish I could find the words to write a review that this book deserves, but since I don’t think that’s possible, I will just say this….READ IT.Thank you, thank you, thank you to Flatiron for my gifted advanced copy of this book.
    more
  • Lisa Jablonsky
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. The hype is real. Put this on your WTR now. This book will be the most important book in 2020; it is a must read. On the news we're always hearing about the dangerous caravan of rapists and murderers trying to get in from Mexico. This book tells the story of Lydia, she could be you or me. She's running from the violence of a cartel directed at her family and her only way to escape is to join the migrants, at incredible risk to her and her young son. It is such a dangerous journey but not as Wow. The hype is real. Put this on your WTR now. This book will be the most important book in 2020; it is a must read. On the news we're always hearing about the dangerous caravan of rapists and murderers trying to get in from Mexico. This book tells the story of Lydia, she could be you or me. She's running from the violence of a cartel directed at her family and her only way to escape is to join the migrants, at incredible risk to her and her young son. It is such a dangerous journey but not as dangerous as staying home. I forgot to breath in some parts. The writing is exquisite, as is the story telling. But it's not really a story. This is very well researched and as real as any thing I ever read. It won't leave me for a long time, if ever.
    more
  • Kristi
    January 1, 1970
    Giving this book 5 stars as it’s not possible to give it 10. Absolutely destroyed by the last 1/4. Terrifying, propulsive text that moves seamlessly through voice and time. The Don Winslow quote about how this is the “Grapes of Wrath for our times” is apt, but for me I couldn’t stop thinking about (my favourite book of all time) The Road. Knowing that, unlike The Road, American Dirt does not involve a post-apocalyptic future, but speaks to the devastating reality so many migrants face today was Giving this book 5 stars as it’s not possible to give it 10. Absolutely destroyed by the last 1/4. Terrifying, propulsive text that moves seamlessly through voice and time. The Don Winslow quote about how this is the “Grapes of Wrath for our times” is apt, but for me I couldn’t stop thinking about (my favourite book of all time) The Road. Knowing that, unlike The Road, American Dirt does not involve a post-apocalyptic future, but speaks to the devastating reality so many migrants face today was almost unbearable to contemplate. I cannot imagine how this doesn’t win the Pulitzer. What an absolutely stunning Fiction debut.
    more
  • Lizzy
    January 1, 1970
    A literary epic story of one Mother’s will for her and her young son’s survival amidst the complete collapse of the world around her that propels her to seek literal refuge on American Dirt. Moving and heart-wrenching tale. The prose is accessible and beautiful (even amidst all the brutality and depravity that it covers). A truly human story that is the next great American novel.
    more
  • Jan
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a compelling, rewarding read. Harrowing as well as heart-warming, the story pulled me in all weekend, until the very last page. It's also rich with food for thought and discussion. I am so impressed by the skill and talent of Jeanine Cummins. I will look for everything by her, but what could be as good as this?
    more
  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    This one blew me right out of the water. From page one, I was completely engrossed. Worth every ounce of pre-publication hype it’s getting.
  • Patty
    January 1, 1970
    Book Review: American DirtBy: @jeaninecummins .Genre: Contemporary FictionFormat: Physical Book (ARC release date: 1/21/2020)Lydia lives a great life in Mexico. She runs a bookstore, has a great husband with a steady job as a journalist, and a beautiful son named Luca. Then everything changes when Lydia and Luca go on the run from a drug cartel. With little money and few supports, Lydia has to make decisions no mother could ever dream of making... what will Lydia do to keep herself and her son Book Review: American DirtBy: @jeaninecummins .Genre: Contemporary FictionFormat: Physical Book (ARC release date: 1/21/2020)Lydia lives a great life in Mexico. She runs a bookstore, has a great husband with a steady job as a journalist, and a beautiful son named Luca. Then everything changes when Lydia and Luca go on the run from a drug cartel. With little money and few supports, Lydia has to make decisions no mother could ever dream of making... what will Lydia do to keep herself and her son alive.So that’s honestly a very basic synopsis for a reason. I cannot say enough good things, but so much happens right away I don’t want to give ANY spoilers. Just know that this may be my favorite read of the year and I honestly cannot say enough good things about it. I didn’t want to read it because I didn’t want the book to end but also I didn’t want to stop reading because I needed to know what happens. This book will stick with me for a long time and I honestly will tell you- it lives up to the hype. Seriously, go pre-order this book now! I cried, I smiled, I cried some more. Just wow. Full review on my blog!5/5. Thank you so much @flatiron_books for this copy in exchange for an honest review.Is this on your radar? Are you planning on pre-ordering it?
    more
  • Rick Buttafogo
    January 1, 1970
    This book. No words. So timely. Immigration is a hot topic for many however it is my hope that whatever side you’re on, this book finds its way into your hands. Perhaps you will learn something and maybe not. In the end, for me at least, it’s not about borders, immigrants, undocumented people etc. It’s about being human. This is a heart-breaking novel, but that’s ok because when one sheds a tear, it confirms that yes...you are human. Note: please read the authors note at the end. Incredibly eye This book. No words. So timely. Immigration is a hot topic for many however it is my hope that whatever side you’re on, this book finds its way into your hands. Perhaps you will learn something and maybe not. In the end, for me at least, it’s not about borders, immigrants, undocumented people etc. It’s about being human. This is a heart-breaking novel, but that’s ok because when one sheds a tear, it confirms that yes...you are human. Note: please read the authors note at the end. Incredibly eye opening.
    more
  • Debbi
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing! The author manages to place the reader in the shoes of a woman who owns a bookstore in Acapulco. Married to a journalist with an eight year old son, Lydia is someone who is easy to relate to and then everything changes she is forced to run for her life.I received this as a Goodreads Givaway. Excited, I immediately read the first five chapters the experience was so intense I had to stop. Two weeks later I picked the book up again and couldn't put it down.The characters are phenomenal, Amazing! The author manages to place the reader in the shoes of a woman who owns a bookstore in Acapulco. Married to a journalist with an eight year old son, Lydia is someone who is easy to relate to and then everything changes she is forced to run for her life.I received this as a Goodreads Givaway. Excited, I immediately read the first five chapters the experience was so intense I had to stop. Two weeks later I picked the book up again and couldn't put it down.The characters are phenomenal, the story is compelling, and the pacing resembles a thriller. The single most remarkable thread in the book is that a migrant can be anyone and for a multitude of reasons. This is a must read. It is my favorite book of this year.
    more
Write a review