Tuesday, January 14, 2020

American Dirt; Jeanine Cummins


TITLE: American Dirt
AUTHOR:  Jeanine Cummins
PUBLISHER: Flatiron Books
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING: Mexico
FORMAT: eGalley
RATING: - 5/5

Lydia Quixano Perez was a bookstore owner in Acapulco Mexico. She her husband, Sebastian, a journalist, and eight-year old son Luca had a nice life until one day, it all ended horribly. Lydia feels responsible for the fact that her husband and 15 family members were gunned down at a family cookout, after she unknowingly befriended a drug cartel operative.  Although she and her young son were lucky enough to escape death, the cartel also knows their job isn't finished yet.

Lydia and Luca are forced to flee their home with some cash and just what they could carry in backpacks. What follows is the dangerous journey they face as they set out on foot, by bus and, even by learning to hop onto moving trains in an attempt to get to the US. During their harrowing journey they face hunger, cruelty and although there are a few kind people along the way, there is far more bad than good to be had along the way. They meet other migrants who share their heartbreaking experiences and become travel companions to two sisters fleeing Honduras who share incredibly sad secrets as well.

Although Lydia's background and economic status was not the norm of the migrants they met along the way, I thought their story was just as heartbreaking. I had to read this story in short bursts as I found it to be realistic and quite sad; I was almost afraid to see how it would end.  A work of fiction, it felt like it could be representative of why many migrants are traveling thousands of miles to reach the U.S. for a safer, better way of life for their family. I especially enjoyed the author's notes at the end which gave insight as to why she wrote this story.  This book is sure to be a popular bookclub discussion choice and, it's worth all the hype it's been getting IMO.

32 comments:

  1. I heard Cummins speak at SIBA and she said she worked on this book for quite a while. She had me (and most of the rest of the audience) in tears. I'm really looking forward to reading the book.

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    1. I think I can understand why the audience was so moved Kathy

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  2. This made it onto so many of the books to look out for in 2020 lists!

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  3. I'm glad to hear your final thoughts on this one, Diane. It has certainly been mentioned a lot lately. You read this in print not audio, right? I'll keep it in mind and suspect it will be a very popular book group read.

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    1. Kay, yes, I had the eGalley/Kindle version. It would be great to discuss with a group.

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  4. That one does sound really, really good and I enjoyed your review.

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  5. I read Enrique's Journey (nonfiction) and felt it really gave me a sense of the migrant experience. I'll add this one to my TBR list.

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  6. Everyone has amazing things to say about this book. I am waiting on a copy from the library but I think I am like #502 or something close to that. I am not really into reading books about current hot button topics but this one seems to be impossible to ignore.

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    1. Yes, Ti, everywhere I turn, this book seems to pop up. Maybe a good choice for your book group.

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  7. This one has piqued a lot of interest! It seems to be on a lot of TBR lists and the reviews have been so positive. Libraries are wishing they had more copies. :)

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    1. I suspect the holds lists at MOST libraries will be very long for this one.

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  8. This is on my list to read this year.

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  9. This book has received a lot of positive buzz and it certainly addresses an important and timely topic. It is on my radar. I hope to get to it at some point.

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  10. Wow so glad you thought it was worth all the hype! I have it on my TBR and hope to get to it. It sounds like an important read.

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    1. Very good -- enjoyable, is not a good word as it's intense.

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    2. Very good -- enjoyable, is not a good word as it's intense.

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  11. This is on my 2020 Must Read list. I'm so happy to see your high rating!

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  12. So glad to hear it lives up to the hype and you loved it. I'll definitely be reading this, hopefully soon. Might have to purchase a copy!

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    1. It may be a long while to wait for the library copy - not that you don't have anything else to read LOL

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  13. Replies
    1. Reminded me of a Steinbeck story in some ways - that good.

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  14. Really happy to learn that this one will live up to all its hype. It's own my "hold" list at the library, but I think I'm something like number 40, so it will be a while before I can get my hands on a copy.

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  15. Yes, there seem to be long hold's list at most libraries. I hope you will enjoy it Sam.

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  16. I'm terrified of reading this one just because of how many felt it was realistic. So many tragic news recently, some involving little kids. I'm still not sure if I'll read it but do know that it comes heavily recommended.

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  17. I must read this soon! Great review.

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