Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt, the #1 New York Times bestseller and Oprah Book Club pick that has sold over two million copies
Lydia lives in Acapulco. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while cracks are beginning to show in Acapulco because of the cartels, Lydia’s life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. But after her husband’s tell-all profile of the newest drug lord is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Forced to flee, Lydia and Luca find themselves joining the countless people trying to reach the United States. Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Oprah called this book club pick “a novel not just for our times, but for this moment in our times.” American Dirt opens with mother and son Lydia and Luca hiding in a shower stall as a riot of bullets and screaming shatters their world. The book then follows the duo as they flee their hometown of Acapulco and attempt to reach the U.S. border before the attackers find them. Cummins succeeds in putting us in her migrant characters’ shoes, taking us on a 2,645-mile, moment-by-moment odyssey of hardship, terror, tragedy, resilience, and hope. She gives Lydia, Luca, and their traveling companions Rebeca and Soledad compelling and vivid backstories, making tangible everything that is left behind in the journey to el norte. Yes, this is an important, eye-opening read about one of the central news stories of our time, but it’s also an unbelievably gripping novel that makes you wish for more hours in your day.
With this devastating yet hopeful work, Cummins (The Crooked Branch) breathes life into the statistics of the thousands fleeing their homelands and seeking to cross the southern border of the United States. By mere chance, Lydia Quixano P rez and her eight-year-old son, Luca, survive the massacre of the rest of her family at her niece's quincea era by sicarios of the Los Jardineros cartel in Acapulco. Compounding the horror of the violence and loss is the fact that the cartel's leader is a man that Lydia unwittingly befriended in her bookstore. Lydia and Luca flee north to the only refuge that she can imagine: her uncle's family in Denver. North of Mexico City, all other sources of transportation become impossible, so mother and son must risk traveling atop La Bestia, the freight trains that are the only way to reach the border without being seen. They befriend two beautiful sisters Soledad, 15, who is "a living miracle of splendor," and Rebeca, 14 who have fled life-threatening circumstances in Honduras. As the quartet travel, they face terror on a constant basis, with danger possible from any encounter, but also compassion and occasionally even wonder. This extraordinary novel about unbreakable determination will move the reader to the core. \n
I found this story very moving
It’s a novel first and foremost, so people’s criticism that it wasn’t written by someone from Mexico doesn’t make sense to me. I found the story and the characters compelling and I struggled with them as they made their horrific journey.
If you’re on the fence, read it. Quickly became one of my ALL time top five. Inspired me to go read more books, written by latinx authors. I am aware that Jeannine is not Latin. Her writing is so utterly captivating. Incredible, eye opening, read.
Insightful & Heart Wrenching
Incredible read, page turner. One of the most solemn depictions of immigration and the sacrifices made to take those journeys.