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Reader reviews and comments on American Dirt, plus links to write your own review.

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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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Toni Brabender

Recommend to every reader
This is a story for our time- a chronicle of the migrant's plight. So often the average person sees immigration through eyes of politicians. Often failing to perceive the migrants as individuals with individual hopes, dreams and a story to tell. We lose the sense of humanity in it all. Ms. Cummins brings several of these stories to the light. It is a tale of devastating loss and yet unmitigated hope for a child. It is tale of kindness and love while mired in a sea of evil, loss and depravity. It is a book that needed to be written of these times in which we live. It is book that we all need to read lest we lose our compassion and very humanity. Although it is a work of fiction, these characters will remain with reader long past the closing of the last page.
Lizzie B

Best book I have read in quite a while
Every once in a while a book comes along that will blow me away. It will blow away all preconceived notions. It will blow away all the hype that surrounds it. It will be a book that stays with me for the rest of my life. It will be a book that makes me rearrange not only my top 10 list but also my way of thinking.

This is by far the best book I have read in several years. There are no words to explain how much this book affected me. I will try to make you understand. I was sitting in a bar sipping on a glass of wine while reading this book. There was a point where I had tears in my eyes. Lydia and Luca were having a struggle and someone asked me if I was ok. I looked up at them with tears in my eyes and could not convey how in the moment I was. I was with these 2 characters as they were wondering where the next meal was coming from, when their feet hurt so much from walking, when they hadn't even had a moment to grieve their absolute loss of everything they knew. I couldn't just tell this person, I was fine, because I wasn't. And I couldn't tell this person that it was ok, I was just reading a book, because I wasn't JUST reading a book. I was living this book.

When I closed this book for the last time, I knew I had been changed. I know that sounds crazy, but I truly feel like I am a lucky person that I had the chance to read this book. I feel blessed that I got to live this story. I know that I will tell every single person I know that reads, about this book and how much it has meant to me.

This book comes out in January. I beg you to preorder now, read this book, live with Lydia and Luca, escape with them, feel their anguish, want to take care of Rachel and Soleidad, and I can't even speak of Beto right now. Live this book, not just read it, live it, and then tell everyone you know. I am glad that this story has been told. I am glad that I read this book. I feel like I am changed for the better, having read it.

Thank you so much to the publishers and the author for bringing this book to reader and for letting me be one of the first to get my hands on it and review it. My sincere gratitude is given.
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 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.
Power Reviewer
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)

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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