What I’m Reading: American Dirt

I was watching floss tube the other day and the gal from Hands Across the Sea recommended this book, American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.  She said she was only three chapters in but was totally hooked. I thought I’d check and see if it was available.  Happily, Hoopla had it.  The thing great about Hoopla is there is no waitlist so…I snatched it up right away and started listening.

American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

I was hooked after the third chapter too!  I found myself doing anything I could to listen to the book.  I sewed longer.  I took Rosie on a longer walk.  I listened while I stitched and didn’t turn the television on.  I wanted to know what was happening.

The front cover of the book says, “A Grapes of Wrath for our times”.  I think that is a perfect analogy.

For me, it was so good to be reading something that caught my attention that wasn’t historical WWII fiction and wasn’t a crime-related book.  This book takes place in Mexico and that’s somewhere that I have read very little about.

Here’s what Amazon has to say:
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 listeners utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity. 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’ American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.”

Amazon readers give the book 4.6 stars.  I’m going to say 4.8 for me.  I loved the story and it was a wonderful change from what I’ve been reading lately.  I’ll go so far as to say that it’s the best book I’ve read this year.

You can find the book HERE if you are interested.  I ended up checking to see if the online library has more books by this author and she does…YAHOO!!

8 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: American Dirt”

  1. I listened to ‘American Dirt’ a few months ago and cried my way thru, just thinking about how lucky I am to be born here, grow up without even the possibility of the dangers that are present and the desperation of the people who only want safety for themselves and their loved ones, and what they were willing to do to find that safety. I just can’t imagine having to make the decision to leave everything I have and everyone I know to make the dangerous trip to seek that safety. The teenagers were also very brave. We are so lucky. ‘Four Winds’ by Kristin Hannah was another book that made me feel incredibly grateful for ‘choosing’ good parents, and a good place and time to live.

  2. Jo, Thanks for the book recommendation; it sounds good and I will look for it at our library. It brings to mind a book I think you might like “Queen of the South” by Arturo Perez-Reverte. I read it several years ago and really enjoyed it. It’s one of very few books that both my husband and I liked; he usually doesn’t like any fiction. It is also about the cartels, very interesting.

  3. American Dirt is a stunning book, one of the best books I’ve ever read. Like you, I knew nothing about Mexico, and the book taught me a lot. I’ve also read all her other books and they are all great.

  4. I read American Dirt last year and it was my favorite book for sure. Not an easy read because of the difficult subject matter, but I think it was very accurate. I’ve recommended it to several friends. It’s a haunting tale that unfortunately many people have gone through!

  5. I listened to American Dirt last summer too, and really enjoyed it. It certainly helps us understand why so many people will walk 2500 miles north in search of a better life. Living in fear like that is incomprehensible to me.

    1. You are so right about the fear and doing what ever they can to try to find a better life. I can’t imagine a life so dangerous and poor that walking 2500 miles with nothing to only perhaps be accepted into a different country is the best option.

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