American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins tells of a mother and son, in danger of being murdered by a Mexican drug cartel, trying to make it to the United States. Ms. Cummins is a published author, this is her fourth book.
- 400 pages
- Publisher : Flatiron Books
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1250209765
I vaguely remember some controversy about this book, when I read a bit more about it I understood why I couldn’t remember. The issue was so idiotic it didn’t merit another second of my time.
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins opens with a massacre in a family bar-b-que. Only the two protagonists, Lydia, and her son Luca, survive.
At first I thought this would be a formulaic book, as it had all the elements to do so. A convenient kid hanging around, a villain that doesn’t stop, and attraction between the villain and the woman who’s running away from him. The novel is a bit predictable, but it asks some very good questions, even attempts to answer a few, by giving a face and backstory to illegal immigrants.
I loved the protagonist’s name, Lydia Quixano Pérez, and was trying to find hidden, or unconscious meanings within the narrative. Lydia and Luca’s quixotic journey is, on the surface, impractical. A single woman and a child attempting to escape a web of corrupt officials, sicarios, and just plain criminals. Lydia might be delusional, thinking they have a chance, fighting along the way, while the seemingly weaker Luca, her Sancho Panza, shows moral characters which others try to suppress while having the most varied perspective and wisdom.
For me, the highlight of the book was when it explored issues such as privilege, responsibilities, and what happens when all things you though secure were suddenly, and violently taken away from you. The author’s goal of putting a human face on a “mass of brown faces”, as well as tell of the plight of illegal immigrants, has been accomplished.
Unfortunately, this fictional story is probably closer to the truth than we’d like to admit to ourselves.
Lydia, a book shop owner in Acapulco is having an emotional affair with one of her clients, Javier. Her husband, an investigative journalist called Sebastián is writing a piece on new cartel head called “The Owl”.
Once the piece comes out, Lydia’s whole family is murdered except her son, Luca. Now she must figure out how to survive Mexico, and illegally cross into the United States without getting noticed, on pain of death.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer:I bought this book
*Amazon links point to an affiliate account, the money is usually spent on books