American Dirt

American Dirt

Book - 2020 | First U.S. edition
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"También de este lado hay sueños. On this side too there are dreams. Lydia Quixano Perez 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 four 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?" -- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2020
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781250209764
1250209765
Characteristics: 386 pages : map ; 25 cm

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From Library Staff

Lydia Quixano Pérez runs a bookstore in Acapulco, Mexico, where she lives with her husband, Sebastián, who is a journalist, and their son, Luca. When a man starts visiting her store, buying books and striking up a friendship, she has no idea initially that he will be responsible for turning her l... Read More »


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c
Catv413
Jan 26, 2021

While the characters are fictional, accounts of what migrants must overcome within the borders or their own country isn't. The violence consuming many areas of Mexico/Central America are real. It was eye-opening to read of the internal corruption that consumes and destroys once beautiful and peaceful places. I have a better understanding of the plight to trek to the US and regardless if the author is a migrant herself (with all the discussion around this book), she is extremely talented in her writing.

k
KeanS
Jan 25, 2021

This book is well written and a real page turner. I would definitely recommend it. One of the best books I've read in a while.

l
Liselara
Jan 25, 2021

I have no idea why so many people loved this book. First of all, I would tell the author that if she is going to write a book in English and pepper it constantly with Spanish, please provide accurate and full translations. Don't expect readers to look everything up; that's just lazy writing. Next, when I see novelists like Stephen King, Kristin Hannah (and others) give high praise with generic comments, I wonder if they even read it. Then, the son, Luca, is given the wisdom of an 80 year old (instead of 8). Cummins could have provided a map. Again, the reader has to look up the journey and try to make sense of
the escape routes the characters chose to follow from Acapulco to the United States. From my point of view, it seems like the author recorded a lot of testimonials and wrote a composite story of strife and sacrifices suffered by others trying to get out of Mexico and other destinations in Central America. What on earth makes everyone think that it's so much better being in the United States? Or even Canada?

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0424pat
Jan 19, 2021

Escape the Mexican cartel and make trip to USA. Rugged. Great book.

b
bevatkey
Jan 11, 2021

After having a family party shot up by the cartel in Acapulco, a mother and her young son, flee being the only family survivors. From Acapulco to the United States, we follow their dangerous, frightening, bold journey. As the cartel hunts them, they become more and more marginalized, having to take more dangerous steps to escape detection.

e
Eschulte34
Dec 28, 2020

This book was well researched, written, and absolutely worth the read. I got through it much faster than I anticipated and would highly recommend it. Make sure you are prepared for it as there are some scenes that feel like they "couldn't" happen because I cannot imagine them personally - which is exactly why it is important to pick this up.

k
kmcdouall
Dec 18, 2020

The publication of this novel stirred up a much needed debate about authenticity, representation, and cultural appropriation. There are valid points on both sides of this argument, and context is everything, but my problem with this book isn't so much that Cummins doesn't represent the community she is writing about. Worse, she is exploiting it to craft a genre crime/suspense thriller that removes the very compelling and immediate issues of asylum and abuse of immigrants into the realm of escapist entertainment. Her protagonist is an upper middle-class Mexican woman who forms a close relationship with a drug cartel kingpin. Not exactly your typical asylum candidate. Her escape and the cat-and-mouse play between these two forms the plot--another damsel in distress. True, she provides some compelling descriptions of the dangers and fears of getting across the border, but does so in service to a genre not known for its realism. Escapism is fine, but there are life-and-death issues in the real world that deserve better treatment.

j
Jenkskitten
Dec 08, 2020

A fictional story but well researched of migrants and a mother's love. The author brings out all the stress, fear, and mistrust one would feel while fleeing for your life and yet there is compassion too for others who are suffering from their own stories who are seeking hope in the US. Well written and should enlighten the reader about migrants coming through Mexico.

b
bethwpr
Nov 30, 2020

Look, I'm all for representation, but I think the controversy over this book because the author is not a native Mexican/of Mexican descent is a bridge too far. This is an extremely well researched and well written book that is compelling from the first page to the last, and anything that can shed light on the plight of some migrants can only help, even if it's a fictionalized account. I think we need to have a broader discussion on whether books can have merit irrespective of the author's background IF the subject matter is treated accurately and with the respect it deserves (or doesn't, if it's an infamous person or horrific actual event).

y
yvettedun
Nov 30, 2020

There is controversary about this book because the author is white and not Mexican. However, I felt that the message was very clear. I was deeply moved and was given an insiders look into the plight of the immigrant trying to cross the US southern border. I had no idea what it actually meant to "cross illegally" from Mexico into the US. This book is a very good description of that plight. It was heart breaking, shocking and stirred a lot of emotion and discussion. For that, I feel it should be forgiven it's controversary. I also feel the controversary is good because it draws more people to the book which will result in more white awareness of what is actually happening at our southern border.

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VaughanPLTiziana Oct 26, 2020

"Lydia is dubious at first, but if you can't trust a librarian, who can you trust?" -pg. 375

w
weaverleeanna
Apr 06, 2020

"Every day a fresh horror, and when it's over, this feeling of surreal detachment. A disbelief, almost, in what they just endured. The mind is magical. Human beings are magical.”

c
cknightkc
Mar 03, 2020

“There’s a wonderful piece of graffiti on the border wall in Tijuana…. TAMBIÉN DE ESTE LADO HAY SUEÑOS. On this side, too, there are dreams.” - Author’s Note p. 383

c
cknightkc
Mar 03, 2020

“That these people would leave their homes, their cultures, their families, even their languages, and venture into tremendous peril, risking their very lives, all for the chance to get to the dream of some faraway country that doesn’t even want them.” - p. 94

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Mich321
Nov 12, 2020

Mich321 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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