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American Dirt

A Novel

by Jeanine Cummins

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins X
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
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  • Published:
    Jan 2020, 400 pages

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  • Laureen S. (Aurora, IL)
    One of those books that stays with you
    Even weeks after reading this book, I find myself thinking about it. It is such a raw and honest portrayal of immigration and the lengths people will go to for their survival and the survival of the ones they love. Cummins' writing is beautiful with wonderful character development. It should be required reading in high schools/colleges and I encourage everyone to read this powerful book.
  • Shirley F. (The Villages, FL)
    Migrant reality
    I read the first chapter of this book and had to put it down - I didn't care to read about the rise of the drug cartels in Mexico, the violence that they produce, and the poor downtrodden Mexicans who are making their way to the US. Then I read the blurbs on the back of the book and thought that there must be more to this book than I am anticipating.

    This book pulled together a story of maternal love, self preservation, and hope in a compelling narrative with multifaceted characters who found the courage and companionship to survive and unimaginable journey. The author defines these migrants as having the dreams of living in a faraway country that doesn't want them - the same as most migrants throughout time. I'm sure we all have looked at the problems at our southern border with some resistance to allowing them to enter our country.

    My grandparents who came from Europe at the turn of the last century, were not wealthy, they were unskilled, they didn't speak English, but they too came to pursue a dream of a better life...like Lydia and Luca.

    The author puts a face to the sea of humanity crossing into the US, but she also puts heart and soul into the characters...and each of them carries some story of suffering. Yes, they have problems, yes, they have anguish, and yes there is some violence, but the story also has many heartwarming, and enlightening moments and is written so that you are carried along the journey with the characters.
    I highly recommend this book for a discussion group. I guarantee that you will never look at the migrant problem the same again.

    Thank you BookBrowse and Flatiron Books for an ARC of American Dirt. It has changed me forever.
  • Beverly J. (Hoover, AL)
    Haunting, mesmerizing, unforgettable!
    I am so very touched by American Dirt, a richly told timely and relevant contemporary story.

    Cummings clear-eyed storytelling, compelling narrative and characterizations along with being expertly plotted had my heart racing in the many tense situations. While there are many situations where human darkness could reign, this is balanced by the goodness of within many others.

    Like many tough issues that can happen in life I appreciated that this story was told with grace and hope.

    A stunning story that presents its point without force but will leave each reader to examine their own humanity.
  • Elizabeth S. (East Hartford, CT)
    Stunning Realism
    It's been easy for me to see the refugees at the southern border of the United States as one sea of humanity. Cummins skillfully takes the reader into the heart and life of one Mexican woman fleeing gang violence in Acapulco, trying to get her son to distant family in Denver. As we travel with her on buses, on top of trains, and on foot through the treacherous route north, we experience first hand the desperation that leads people to become refugees. I will continue to see the face of Lydia, the mother, superimposed on any news photos of refugees I see in the future. Each person has a story, and Cummins gives us one stunning example in her novel.
  • Marianne D. (Crofton, MD)
    Do Not Pass This One By!
    "American Dirt" grabbed me from the very first sentence. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to rush through the book or savor every word. Author Jeanine Cummins' goal is to encourage us—maybe even force us—to see migrants as human beings, not statistics or problems. Even though I sympathize with immigrants, I cannot personally identify because I am not one. My grandparents were, but I am not. After "American Dream," I will never be able to look at immigrants as statistics. They are, as Ms. Cummins describes all human beings as being, "magical." The author does a masterful job of painting the everyday experiences and the inner thoughts of immigrants, as well as of those who try to help them and those who do not want them to succeed. "American Dirt" is perfect for a book group discussion. Please be sure to read the Author's Note; it will change you forever.
  • Lynn D. (Kingston, NY)
    The story for our time
    This is an amazing novel! We all have heard stories, or known people who have made the dangerous journey to cross our southern border. This novel makes us feel for these migrants with such compassion. Cummins humanizes the people who make this terrifying choice in order to save their lives, facing overwhelming danger. This book is compelling, frightening, heartwarming, and unforgettable. The migrants can trust no one and yet they find hope, and the courage to keep living, and to love. Lydia and Luca are beautiful characters.
  • Susan M. (Chestertown, MD)
    FOR LOVE
    After reading American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins you will find yourself wondering just how far would you go to save your loved ones? Would you evacuate them from all they love? Would you jump trains with them? Cross the desert with questionable strangers for them? Bullets flew one day and Lydia's life dramatically changed. Immediately all she knew was one thing, el norte, she must go el norte to the United States or she and her son Luca would die. Easily one of the best books I've read in years.

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Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
American Dirt
by Jeanine Cummins

"American Dirt is a Grapes of Wrath for our times."
—Don Winslow

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