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:
American Dirt has been compared to The Grapes of Wrath. Have you read the latter book, and if so, what parallels do you see between the two?

Created: 02/06/20

Replies: 10

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2245

American Dirt has been compared to The Grapes of Wrath. Have you read the latter book, and if so, what parallels do you see between the two?

"American Dirt" has been compared to "The Grapes of Wrath." Have you read the latter book, and if so, what parallels do you see between the two?


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

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 143

RE: American Dirt has been compared to The Grapes of Wrath. Have you read the latter book, and if so, what parallels do you see between the two?

It’s been a very long time since I read Steinbeck but if I recall correctly, the characters in both novels are forced to leave due to conditions in their homeland. In Oklahoma it was the dust bowl which made it impossible for farmers to live on the land so they went to California looking for a better life. In American Dirt the characters are forced by fear for their lives which makes it impossible to stay in Mexico. Both are stories of forced migration due to causes out of the control of the families involved.


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

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 139

RE: American Dirt has been compared to The Grapes of Wrath. Have you read the latter book, and if so, what parallels do you see between the two?

I recently re-read Grapes of Wrath and there is a similarity. Both families must leave their home or face death - in American Dirt from the drug cartels and in Grapes of Wrath from the drought and dust storms in Oklahoma. Both families travel a great distance and at great danger to find their promised land. Another similarity is that both families meet lots of interesting people and face considerable hardship on their journeys. Grapes of Wrath has survived the test of time - I wonder if American Dirt will do the same?


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

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 203

RE: American Dirt has been compared to The Grapes of Wrath. Have you read the latter book, and if so, what parallels do you see between the two?

The Grapes of Wrath is one of my favorite books. I see the similarities between these two books — leaving home to find a new life elsewhere, the relationships and encounters with others along the way, and finally arriving and appreciating where you’ve come from to get to this new life. However, I don’t think American Dirt should be compared to The Grapes of Wrath. This book speaks to a political crisis in my mind and The Grapes of Wrath was a story driven by our domestic abuse of the land and the barren places left behind.


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

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 89

RE: American Dirt has been compared to The Grapes of Wrath. Have you read the latter book, and if so, what parallels do you see between the two?

The people in The Grapes of Wrath and American Dirt both face hard choices. Their lives where they begin are untenable. The path to a new future is also uncertain and paved with threats and dangers. Yet, to remain where they are means they have no future either. The parallels between the two books are easy to see.


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

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 235

RE: American Dirt has been compared to The Grapes of Wrath. Have you read the latter book, and if so, what parallels do you see between the two?

She could only wish to have written such a powerful work of literature--this is a pop novel--a flash in the pan purporting to deal with a current major world event


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

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 255

RE: American Dirt has been compared to The Grapes of Wrath. Have you read the latter book, and if so, what parallels do you see between the two?

Grapes of Wrath is a classic, this is not. The two should not be compared.


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

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 240

RE: American Dirt has been compared to The Grapes of Wrath. Have you read the latter book, and if so, what parallels do you see between the two?

If I recall, it was Don Winslow who called American Dirt "The Grapes of Wrath of our times". I didn't assume he was comparing the writing or the authors, but rather one of the themes of the novels. At various times throughout our history, people across the world have been forced to migrate due to conditions outside of their control: weather, famines, instability, war, violence. This exodus from Central America and Mexico is that first that many of us have been alive or old enough to really understand. Watching people flee from Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Libya, what was formerly Yugoslavia, and many other countries across the oceans from me was not nearly as personal or powerful as to what I have felt as our neighbors have come to us begging for help. Not that I wasn't shocked or saddened or empathetic- -but I can admit my concern was often left in the moment, just like Lydia bemoaning her lack of garlic.

The United States has not experienced migration within or so close to us like we have seen recently since the Dust Bowl. I think there is similar resentment felt and hostility exhibited toward those traveling to the United States by some as experienced by the U.S. migrants moving to California in Steinbeck's novel.

I have often heard, as a suggestion/solution for the unemployed living in shuttered factory towns in the South or coalminers whose mines have closed, that they just move somewhere- -anywhere else to find a new job. But it sure seems to me that migrants (whether they are fleeing desperate conditions to another part of their own country or those coming from a different country) are often met with distrust and resentment, and their desperation is exploited.


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

Join Date: 07/08/17

Posts: 9

RE: American Dirt has been compared to The Grapes of Wrath. Have you read the latter book, and if so, what parallels do you see between the two?

Do not think this book will hold up as The Grapes of Wrath has.


Posted Feb. 16, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Carol Rainer

Join Date: 09/03/15

Posts: 89

RE: American Dirt has been compared to The Grapes of Wrath. Have you read the latter book, and if so, what parallels do you see between the two?

I have not read The Grapes of Wrath, but most of my reading comes from inspirations from other books and I will be reading it. Because I have been glued to my TV with all events in Washington, I am coming into this discussion a little late. I did read the book in two chunks and found that it was a page turner.


Posted Mar. 25, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 169

RE: American Dirt has been compared to The Grapes of Wrath. Have you read the latter book, and if so, what parallels do you see between the two?

Yes, Grapes of Wrath is a favorite book of mine. The parallels I see are poverty and freedom. The need to be free is paramount in each book. Running to escape and find a better future. Both families are running in poverty - unable to buy their way to freedom - running from problems on only a wish and a prayer.


Reply

Please login to post a response.