“On this side too, there are dreams.” This powerful sentiment really illustrated what American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins is about. This is one of the most powerful stories I’ve read in a while. It’s about something that a lot of us as Americans really can’t relate to, yet some of us harbor some really strong assumptions about.
Immigration and wall-building has been a hot topic for a while now. But when it comes down to it, we have no clue what some people suffer, what they have to endure and overcome to get here.
American Dirt tells the story of Lydia and her son Luca. Their entire family has gathered to celebrate a quinceañera with laughter and good food. The story opens with this celebration turning to tragedy when the cartel arrives and murders the entire family, except for Lydia and Luca who managed to remain undetected in the bathroom.
The level of loss and grief is hard to imagine. Being able to function and realize the grave sense of danger Lydia and her son are in is unfathomable, but Lydia jumps into action. She gathers up all she can and heads off, desperately clawing her way to the only hope of safety, el Norte.
This book is a wake up call, it’s a call to action that can’t be ignored. This book follows the daunting and miraculous journey to America. It’s not without great risk and overcoming the greatest obstacles and sacrifices they have ever imagined.
I am so glad that this book was chosen as Oprah’s Book Club selection. Oprah has a track record of selecting books that demand our attention and she’s couldn’t have selected a better book for right now. Please, go to your local bookstore, go to LibroFM and get the audiobook, anything you have to do to get your hands on this book. Stephen King “[defied] anyone to read the first seven pages of this book and not finish it.” If Oprah’s endorsement wasn’t enough, surely Stephen King’s can get your attention.
I want to thank Flatiron Books and LibroFM for providing me an advanced copy of American Dirt. I’ve been looking forward to it’s publication day so I can sing its praises to everyone!