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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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Dorothy L. (Manalapan, NJ)

A Book You Will Never Forget
There are a few times in your life when you read a book that transforms you. For me, this is one of those books. I found this book riveting from the very first sentence. I felt like I was on the journey with Lydia and Luca. I experienced many emotions along the way--horror, fear, and shock. This is the story behind the headlines and TV segments that we are exposed to very superficially. We don't know the stories behind the faces we see in cages and we don't know their journeys. I never knew what it was like to leave your home and embark on a frightening desperate attempt to survive and all the pitfalls that beset these migrants. This one of the central questions of our time and a book that everyone should read whatever your political leanings. It is the best book I read in 2019 and I am grateful to Bookbrowse for selecting me as an early-reader recipient of this truly amazing book. I might add that I am a very critical reader but there is nothing I can say except to praise American Dirt.
Margot P. (Mandeville, LA)

Every character matters
This book is going to be huge when it's released in January. There will be some who will say it's too political but how can it not be? The migrant tragedy is real, political, and complex and needs to be evaluated with compassion and realism. The story of a mother and son crossing Mexico to get to the US after their entire family is assassinated by a drug cartel in Acapulco will touch readers to the core. It's a brutal tale that Cummins brilliantly handles with great poetic writing and deep multifaceted characters. I particularly enjoyed the character of the drug lord as it added yet another fascinating layer of richness to the story.
Joan B. (Ellicott City, MD)

Message for ALL
There can be no one who has not questioned and been saddened and confused by the news reports of people leaving their homes and families to take an arduous trip to an unknown conclusion. Jeanine Cummins has pulled us in to the engrossing tale of Lydia and Luca leaving Mexico for "the north". The description of their trials and successes is a page turning adventure. Every sentence, paragraph and page keeps the reader pushing on in their shoes. What a beautifully written story to give us an understanding of the immigrant's motivation and persistence. I wish that everyone who is conflicted by the struggles would read this book.
Deborah H.

This is that book. The one that I simply could not put down. Truly captivating from the start. Cummins has written a stunning novel that implores each of us to open our eyes and our hearts to the humanitarian crisis that exists at our borders. This is that book. The one you will read and instantly want to share. The one that will spark the discussions we so need to have. I would so love to see this read in high schools across the country. This IS that book.
Jill S. (Chicago, IL)

It will change how you think about the world
How do I even begin to do justice to a book that is so brilliantly-written, harrowing, poignant, thought-provoking, strongly-plotted and heart-stopping?

Perhaps with this: American Dirt is one of those rare books that will not only galvanize readers with its story and with its characters, but also change the way we think about our human condition. At this sad juncture in American history where desperate people who are fleeing for their lives are portrayed as a homogeneous brown mass clamoring for benefits they haven't earned, Jeanine Cummins breathes life and humanity into her characters.

This author—herself the wife of an undocumented immigrant—vividly narrates a dangerous path forward where any stranger may, in fact, be an assassin and where every decision might be an instrument of death. Lydia and Luca's harrowing journey across a lethal freight train nicknamed "La Bestia" and a dangerous border crossing that had my heart in my throat is reason enough to read this book.

But the plot itself is not the thrust of Jeanine Cummins' story. She goes in search of deeper territory: how do we survive the unfathomable? How do we retain any spark of humanity when the world keeps revealing itself as predatory and evil? This book, to me, is a 6-star read!
Sherilyn R. (St George, UT)

An Extraordinary Book
On television almost every day I see stories about the immigrant problem. What I don't see are stories about the journeys these people have gone through to come north to escape the brutality and horror they experienced in their home countries. This book clearly details the day to day experience of being a migrant, the sense of being prey, the unimaginable fear, the occasional act of kindness, the powerlessness, the hopelessness and the rage.

Lydia and Luca, Soledad and Rebecca, the protagonists in American Dirt, became very real. How they came to love and trust and help each other in a world where such feelings and actions are rare became the core of this story. I was obsessed with their story. It was impossible to put this book down.

I strongly recommend this book. It has everything, great writing, unforgettable characters and a riveting story. It goes without saying that this is one of the most important and best books I have read in a long time.
Amber H. (Asheville, NC)

One of the best books I have ever read. From the very first page to the last, I was hooked.

The story of Lydia & Luca is so beautifully written. I felt I was actually with them on every step of their journey.

This book isn't for the faint of heart - there are very difficult, emotional and violent moments. But this is also the reality of the world today, which makes it an important read.

I appreciate the research and heart Jeanine Cummins put into this book. This is a story that will stay with me.
Karen B. (La Grange, KY)

Lives up to the hype
American Dirt is an intimate, authentic, compelling story of anguish and hope, of triumph over extraordinary trauma. A compelling and timely story of the often inconceivable hardships faced by asylum seekers, American Dirt is challenging without being preachy or moralistic. In the author's note, Cummins writes that she is "acutely aware that the people coming to our southern border are not one faceless brown mass but singular individuals, with stories and backgrounds and reasons for coming that are unique." She hoped "to present one of those unique personal stories -- a work of fiction -- as a way to honor the hundreds of thousands of stores we may never get to hear". That she did. This was an extraordinary book that lives up to the hype.

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