I really really really enjoyed this book. It had me on the edge of my seat (a.k.a. stayed up all night to finish) and I was pulled right in within the first few pages. This historical fiction has everything- from suspense, to romance, to a mother’s intense love, and touches on a very difficult subject matter: immigrants at the border. I found myself definitely reflecting on what the “right” way to handle and feel thankful to have a perspective from what it could be like as a Mother. Overall, I highly recommend this book, but do know there are some tough things to read about. (think: a ruthless drug cartel)
I had no idea what this book was about before going into it. I rarely research much about books before I read them because I HATE spoilers. So I just go by word of mouth from friends and family to make my “to be read” list. So, that being said, I had no idea there was controversy about this author and book until after I read it! (spoiler alert: there are many that think this is an inaccurate depiction of a Mexican immigrant and that a Latino author should have been chosen by Oprah’s Book Club to better tell this story and represent the culture)
Add it to your bookshelf here ==>
Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.
Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy―two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia―trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.
Already being hailed as “a Grapes of Wrath for our times” and “a new American classic,” Jeanine Cummins’s American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.
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