Not Logged in.
Book Jacket

American Dirt


"American Dirt is a Grapes of Wrath for our times."
—Don Winslow
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

Discuss American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins:
Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

Created: 02/06/20

Replies: 23

Posted Feb. 06, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2204

Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

Did "American Dirt" change your opinion about those seeking immigration to a foreign country? Have you read other books about Mexican immigration to the United States? If so, are there any you’d recommend to learn more about this issue?


Posted Feb. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ABeman

Join Date: 01/14/15

Posts: 47

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

I highly recommend these books as complements to American Dirt:
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera
Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli (I haven't read her novel Lost Children Archive yet, but it's on my TBR list)
Tears of the Trufflepig by Fernando Flores


Posted Feb. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susanr

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 139

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

Thanks to ABeman for the list of books on this topic. I really want to learn more about this issue.


Posted Feb. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dawng

Join Date: 02/08/20

Posts: 7

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

Reading this book has not changed my opinion on immigrants seeking asylum from other countries. Although I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like for them, I feel that things in their own country must be so bad that they are willing to take the risks of coming to America and dealing with the potential circumstances because they feel the risk they are taking is a better alternative than what they are currently living in. And that makes me very sad to think that such a decision has to be made in someone's life!


Posted Feb. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jenniferk

Join Date: 02/08/20

Posts: 5

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

Interesting topic. I was a bit cynical before I started reading this book, because I saw reviews by others on GoodReads who were using this book as a platform for their own political beliefs- proclaiming that everyone who is opposed to Trump's Wall needs to read the book. I hate politics and hate it when an author infuses politics into a book. (I almost returned this book due to these reviews.) I enjoyed the book and took it for what it is- it's ONE story about ONE mother and her son who are entering the country illegally, seeking asylum. Is it representative of everyone from Mexico who immigrates or attempts to immigrate to the U.S.? Likely not.


Posted Feb. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 203

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

No, it didn’t change my opinion because I was already aware of some of the immigration policy concerns coupled with real human lives impacted by dangers in other countries. I’m glad to see a mainstream novel in the publishing world that drives home the many complications of immigration so more people can be aware of some of the reasons people may be forced to immigrate.


Posted Feb. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 225

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

I've read numerous books on this topic including: The Devil's Highway and The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea, The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande, Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez, The Affairs of the Falcons by Melissa Rivero, The Coyote's Bicycle by Kimball Taylor, and God's Middle Finger by Richard Grant (not necessarily about migration but some conditions that may lead to it). in an attempt to understand more about the Mexican cartels I read Don Winslow's The Power of the Dog and The Cartel. (Maybe not the best choice, but he did provide a pretty thorough history.)

This book did not change my opinion on the topic of immigration/asylum. In some ways it may have complicated the issue because we "meet" characters who are not rapists or drug dealers, dispelling a common narrative.


Posted Feb. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2204

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

Some of the titles referenced in this thread are in BookBrowse's Latinx category: https://www.bookbrowse.com/browse/index.cfm/category_number/243/latinx-writers and we'll certainly be on the lookout for more to recommend in the future.


Posted Feb. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 143

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

Another book of interest is Midnight in Mexico by Alfredo Corchado. This non-fiction book is about the author’s experience as a journalist who got death threats in Mexico working as the Mexico bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News.


Posted Feb. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 225

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

I am able to access the library from my previous home state using my old library card and an app. I found it very interesting that so few books on this topic by Latin writers are a part of my former library's collection. I lived in the Midwest. I wonder if readers in other locations in the U.S. have greater access to Latin writers at their public libraries.

I did copy a list of recommended books by one of Ms. Cummins' critics. If anyone is interested in more titles, feel free to send me a message. :)


Posted Feb. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ColoradoGirl

Join Date: 05/16/16

Posts: 63

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

I appreciate the book recommendations that you've shared. I would like to think I've gained more empathy for migrants but this book didn't change my mind.


Posted Feb. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 235

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

Not at all.


Posted Feb. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 221

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

I have not read any other books about immigrants coming by way of Mexico-U.S. border but I have seen many posts and articles on Social Media about this. This book gave that information a human context and also explained a lot of what these people go through to get to the U.S. It did not change my opinion. I am already on the side of the Immigrant.


Posted Feb. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
arb

Join Date: 10/27/18

Posts: 3

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

No this book did not change my opinion. I was always on the side of the Immigrants. It did however make it more real. I read the Don Winslow trilogy about the Cartels and that is well researched and gives you a profound understanding of how evil they are. It too is fiction.


Posted Feb. 11, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
monicap

Join Date: 05/17/16

Posts: 9

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

It didn’t change my opinion, but it certainly helped me to see the desperation and danger. For example, I did not realize the actual ongoing journey was so horribly dangerous on the southern side of the border, especially for women and children. For some reason, due to my naïveté, I thought most of the danger and threat was on the United States side of the border once they crossed over and came under the control of border guards.


Posted Feb. 13, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbarae

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 17

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

I would highly recommend This is Our land: An Immigrant Manifesto by Sukrita Mehta. Mehta makes a powerful statement against bigotry and argues persuasively why the West would benefit from more migrants. This book is very timely.


Posted Feb. 13, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 225

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

monicap, I found your response haunting and incredibly powerful. I had not considered comparing the danger on one side of the border to the danger on the other. This gives new meaning to the phrase "between a rock and a hard place".


Posted Feb. 13, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2204

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

An episode of NPR's This American Life late last year (sadly, no longer available) focused on migration across the southern border. There was a particularly devastating section where they reported on the cartels’ systematic kidnapping of the asylum seekers waiting in Mexico, made stupidly easy because of the US’s Migrant Protection Protocols which now send the applicants back across the border into Mexico to await processing—and do so at exactly the same time of day, every day—where they are systematically picked up by the cartel, or even by the local law enforcement who then turn them over to the cartel. Then they are at the mercy of the cartel thugs until their relatives pay the ransom fee. The system is so well honed that, if the ransom is paid in full, the migrant is then given a password to provide if they are kidnapped a second time.

This covers the same topic: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/21/us/border-migrants-kidnapping-mexico.html


Posted Feb. 13, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 225

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

I listened to that podcast while I was walking my dog one morning. I'm sure everyone wondered what was wrong with me. My mouth hung open in shock and disbelief and tears of frustration pooled in my eyes. My dog just wanted me to slow down.

I have a friend who volunteered this summer in Deming, New Mexico. Their migrant shelter was a full community effort and a true model. She has shared incredible stories of her time there. She has been a wonderful source of information.


Posted Feb. 14, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marks

Join Date: 02/25/19

Posts: 30

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

It didn't change my opinion, but it certainly made me more aware of what journeys like this must be like. I also appreciate that Cummins (as she says in her Author's Note) decided to make this story more "about victims than perpetrators." To read a book like this without sympathy/empathy would be impossible.


Posted Feb. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickic

Join Date: 09/15/14

Posts: 51

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

My opinion remains very pro immigration. However, this book, A WORK OF FICTION, did allow me to feel more acutely the desperation of a mother trying to protect her child from harm and ensure safety. Outstanding story.


Posted Feb. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
angelakuemmel

Join Date: 03/11/15

Posts: 10

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

I am also pro immigration and this book reinforced that. I had no idea how many people benefit from the plight of those vulnerable migrants


Posted Feb. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
shannonl

Join Date: 12/04/17

Posts: 22

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

The book did not change my opinion....it made me clarify a POV that I thought I understood....but I was already pretty sympathetic. My bookclub had just read THE LINE BECOMES A RIVER so it was a fascinating contrast.


Posted Feb. 28, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bonnieb

Join Date: 09/11/11

Posts: 126

RE: Did American Dirt change your opinion? Are there other books you'd recommend on this topic?

My forefathers and mothers traveled to the United States as refugees. They lived in danger and escaped with danger surrounding them. I look at Ellis Island and it brings tears to my eyes. We should welcome immigrants with love and compassion, especially the oppressed.


Reply

Please login to post a response.