MLA Platinum Award Press Release

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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There are currently 46 reader reviews for American Dirt
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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.
Michele H. (Ann Arbor, MI)

Such an adventure!
I really loved this book. This book has the key elements of what makes a great book - a plot driven story with characters you care about. Jeanine Cummins did a great job writing a story that created a setting that you could visualize with enough character development that you cared what happened. The subject matter is very relevant, and though heavy, it is done with grace.

"Because though she may understand something of this boy's circumstances, she doesn't know him."

I didn't want the book to end. I felt invested in what happens next to these characters. Another sign of what a fantastic read this was!
Ginny H. (Troutdale, OR)

American Dirt
This is a beautifully written story of the plight of immigrants from dangerous countries who seek sanctuary in America. I have a much deeper understanding of what they have to go through to pass into the USA (stepping onto American dirt) and the unbelievable risks they take in order to do so. I loved the characters in the book and have so much compassion for the real-life people who a president who has denigrated and victimized.
Jamie K. (Berkeley, CA)

A heart-rending story for our time
From the very first bullet-ridden sentence, I was hooked on this fast-paced mother and son journey from Acapulco to the promised land of El Norte. American Dirt is an immigrant story blending unconditional love with the sheer will to survive — told in compelling prose with characters so real, you sometimes want to reach in and shake them. Alternating terror and compassion, the author takes us on an unforgettable ride proving what we knew all along — friendship with the head of the cartel is never a good idea. On the road, everyone has their own story; nothing is as it seems, and even Lydia, as virtuous and brave as she is, has blood on her hands.
Susan L. (Midlothian, VA)

america home of the brave
This book couldn't have been written at a more perfect time. The misunderstanding of people crossing the border into the U.S. is so unfair to the struggling people leaving their homes in fear of their lives. The story is following a mother and child coming north because they have to leave their home to survive. This book is worth the read. Highly recommend.
Darlene G. (Allegany, NY)

Rich, heartbreaking and rewarding
A page-turner! Cummins has created a story full of tension and love, full of the natural human desires for safety, food, shelter, and community as well as the ways power, greed, fear, violence and judgments of the "other" can pervert humane behavior. She accomplishes this through robust characters and heartbreaking challenges. Never pedantic nor does she suggest "the" answers, this is a story of what it might be like to confront the best and worst of humanity on the ground. If you have ever wondered what it might be like to be a migrant worker or an immigrant at the Mexican-U.S. border in today's world- it's a must read. Lastly, Cummins does not talk about this, but it made me wonder- how things could collapse anywhere when money and guns buy silence. I highly recommend this book.
Susan S. (Lafayette, CA)

I am in awe
I would say that a rating of 5 stars is an understatement. I think it would be impossible to praise this book too highly. I can't remember the last time I loved a book this much or learned this much. It's enlightening; it's inspiring; it's moving; it's thoroughly engrossing. And if anything could have the power to change the debate about immigration in this country, it would be this book. It should be required reading for every U.S. citizen.

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