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American Dirt

4.75  ·  Rating details ·  373 ratings  ·  160 reviews
Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.

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 journ
Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: January 21st 2020 by Flatiron Books
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Fran Burdsall No, not really since most of the swearing is in Spanish! But there is violence - a lot of violence and the tension is palpable as this fearful journey…moreNo, not really since most of the swearing is in Spanish! But there is violence - a lot of violence and the tension is palpable as this fearful journey progresses. (less)

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Average rating 4.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  373 ratings  ·  160 reviews

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Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a timely and powerful portrayal of the plight of the migrant. An innocent mother and her young son desperately and illegally attempt to enter the US from Mexico while fleeing from a cartel. The beginning is brutal and the tension never ceases. The cartel’s savagery is not the focus of the novel but it is the impetus. At its heart, this is a novel about victims and there are victims aplenty. No one is to be trusted. Although, amid much cold-blooded barbarity and those out to make quick bu ...more
4.5 Stars

Beginning at the end, or perhaps more accurately – after the end of the story, for a change. In the Author’s Note at the end of the story, Cummins writes:

”As I traveled and researched, even the notion of the American dream began to feel proprietary. There’s a wonderful piece of graffiti on the border wall in Tijuana that became, for me, the engine of this whole endeavor. I photographed it and made it my computer wallpaper. Anytime I faltered or felt discouraged, I clicked b
Liz Barnsley
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh this book.
I wasn’t going to review for a while given that this is a 2020 publication but American Dirt is one of those books you finish and immediately need to talk about. So a short sharp review now then when next year rolls around trust me, I’ll be back. Annoying y’all until you read it.
American Dirt is impeccably researched which gives it full flavour but the beauty and the horror of it all comes across because the writing, the sense of it, is stunningly authentic. It hits you
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A big thank you to Amy Einhorn for an early copy of this book. I have no doubt this will be the “big book of the moment” when it is released in January. Personally I loved it. The author Jeanine Cummins has a gift for characterization and solid writing skills and she presented the illegal immigration story in a way I have not seen before….it was fresh and interesting throughout as we watch these people literally running for their lives.

Mexico is complicated. I have no doubt that Cumm
Tom Mooney
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure I have the words to express what a momentous book this is. There will be a lot of hype around it when it is published and all I can say is: Believe every single word of it.

Don Winslow has called it a "Grapes of Wrath for our times" and I have to say I completely agree. Cummins has done for the Latin American migrant what Steinbeck did for the Okies. She has humanised their experience.

The book opens with Lydia and her young son Luca cowering in their bathroom
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
It took me a while to figure out how to write a review that would do this novel justice. This is single-handily one of the most important novels I have ever read in my long-reading life. The humanity grabs you by the throat and by the heart and does not let go. It is harrowing with the danger that the characters deal with and moving with the love that is so obvious between them; whether mother and son or strangers picked up along this desperate journey. This book is obviously prescient with the ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Amy Einhorn at Flatiron Books for an advanced copy of American Dirt. This book put a face to all the migrants that we hear about in the news everyday. I believe if you read this book (and you should) that your perspective will change. Especially if you believe what our current president is saying about these people. You will walk away feeling sympathetic to their situation and have better understanding as to why so many are trying to find a better life in el Norte, the United States ...more
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just extraordinary. An absolutely vital read for these times.
Molly Riportella
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jeanine Cumming's sophomore book, American Dirt, is an emotional literary thriller that contests the far-right's misrepresentation of the border crisis by chronicling the migration of a mother and her young son.

American Dirt opens in media res with three members of an Acapulco cartel opening fire at a large family party while seven-year-old Luca is using the bathroom. Luca and his mother, Lydia escape the carnage by hiding in a shower, though the news of their survival reaches El Jefe once the
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Amy Einhorn and Flatiron Books for gifting this advance copy at our Booktopia session. This is a must read for all, especially in our current political time. Jeanine Cummins tells us the story of a mother and son fleeing from their home, from their country into a journey for their life. I felt I was running, hiding, thirsty and hungry right along the characters. Each person you meet on this life and death journey you will never, ever forget. My stomach was in knots hoping our character ...more
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-reads
A literary epic story of one Mother’s will for her and her young son’s survival amidst the complete collapse of the world around her that propels her to seek literal refuge on American Dirt. Moving and heart-wrenching tale. The prose is accessible and beautiful (even amidst all the brutality and depravity that it covers). A truly human story that is the next great American novel.
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Amazing! The author manages to place the reader in the shoes of a woman who owns a bookstore in Acapulco. Married to a journalist with an eight year old son, Lydia is someone who is easy to relate to and then everything changes she is forced to run for her life.
I received this as a Goodreads Givaway. Excited, I immediately read the first five chapters the experience was so intense I had to stop. Two weeks later I picked the book up again and couldn't put it down.
The characters are ph
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Giving this book 5 stars as it’s not possible to give it 10. Absolutely destroyed by the last 1/4. Terrifying, propulsive text that moves seamlessly through voice and time. The Don Winslow quote about how this is the “Grapes of Wrath for our times” is apt, but for me I couldn’t stop thinking about (my favourite book of all time) The Road. Knowing that, unlike The Road, American Dirt does not involve a post-apocalyptic future, but speaks to the devastating reality so many migrants face today was ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
It's difficult to put into words how I feel about this book, so I'll start with two cheesy statements--first, believe the hype! It's being called the Most Anticipated Book of 2020, and that is so well deserved. Second, you can judge this book by its cover. Honestly, I think this is the most beautiful cover I've ever seen, and the story inside is equally beautiful. And harrowing, and heartbreaking, and hopeful, and ever-so-timely. It's about a mother and her eight-year-old son who escape to the Unit ...more
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
American Dirt is a well written and compelling novel. Cummins deftly creates characters that you care about and gives faces, albeit fictional, to people who are running for their lives and are willing to risk everything— including their lives to come to the United States.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Grit on every page. Such a breathtaking rendering of the pressures faced by those living in veritable war zones and the reasons they run. Fingers crossed that this book makes it into the hands of those who need it most.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Penguin for this ARC. American Dirt is getting a ton of publicity and will be a best seller for good reason. It is the story of a mother (Lydia) and son (Luca) who were forced to leave their home in Mexico following an unimaginable tragedy. Lydia and Luca must out run the drug cartel jefe’ who is hunting them down to have hope of a life in “el norte”. I feel that I lived the migrant experience...the terror, skepticism, exhaustion, dehumanization. Reading this book made me realize th ...more
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Donna Staub, Lisa Padilla
This book is a compelling, rewarding read. Harrowing as well as heart-warming, the story pulled me in all weekend, until the very last page. It's also rich with food for thought and discussion. I am so impressed by the skill and talent of Jeanine Cummins. I will look for everything by her, but what could be as good as this?
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
American Dirt has ripped open my soul and pulled my heart out. From the very first sentence, Jeanine Cummins drags the reader into the pages of the book with a fierceness that is impossible to resist. Heart-wrenching and heart-breaking, but at the same time showcasing the savage strength of women who have the will to survive for the hope of a better life. Not since Colson Whitehead's Underground Railroad has a novel affected me so deeply. This novel deserves every praise and every honor.
Linda Quinn
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Powerful, poetic and filled with beautiful language describing sometimes unspeakable tragedy. This book is a must read for every American, or estadounidense, to truly understand the human tragedy that is the migrant crisis in so many foreign countries.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Powerful and vivid storytelling that will invade your daily thoughts. An outstanding book with perfect timing and heaps of humanity.
Claire Connors
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I couldn’t put it down. Thought provoking and timely.
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I would give this literary thriller ten stars if it was possible. Quite simply the BEST literary thriller I've ever read!!
Maiko Lenting-Lu
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You will both want to savour this book and race through it. It’s compelling, beautiful, filled with so much sadness and yet so much love. This is a wonderful, wonderful book.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, arc, book-buzz
Thank you to Flatiron books for the opportunity to read this in advance. I will be placing my review/thoughts under a spoiler tag until after the publication in January. It does contain spoilers.

(view spoiler) ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway
I am so happy I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. It is now one of my favorite books ever. The story is so compelling. It's heartbreaking, heartwarming, and pulled me in completely. I wanted to read it every chance I got and now I'm sad I'm done. I will miss the characters. I don't want to give anything away but when this book comes out in January, read it. There should be an option for more stars then 5 when you need them.
Lindsay Zewronek
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am at a loss for words - this book was phenomenal.
Sep 05, 2019 marked it as to-read
I received an advance copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an arc of this book from the author at book expo this year. I really loved this book. It was written in a beautiful, descriptive way and told the story of Lydia, Luca, and the other migrants who were escaping difficult situations and trying to get to the el Norte. As much as I loved this book, it hits really close to home with what is going on in our country/world today. I gave it 4 stars because I had a hard time figuring out some of the Spanish phrases used in the book. It was not a ...more
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Jeanine Cummins is the author of four books: the bestselling memoir A Rip in Heaven, and the novels The Outside Boy, The Crooked Branch, and American Dirt. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.
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