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American Dirt

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  311,839 ratings  ·  28,531 reviews
También de este lado hay sueños.
On this side, too, there are dreams.

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 t
Hardcover, 459 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Flatiron Books
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Linda C I am currently reading this. All the fake outrage helped to move the book higher on my TBR list. As you said, if you don't like the writing, critique …moreI am currently reading this. All the fake outrage helped to move the book higher on my TBR list. As you said, if you don't like the writing, critique the writing. But to say that a Caucasian shouldn't be writing about Hispanic woman is ludicrous at best... or censorship at worst.

Would they say the same thing to Shakespeare, the greatest English-language writer of all time? After all, he was not a Danish prince, Italian teenagers, or Cleopatra. How dare he write about them?(less)

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Average rating 4.34  · 
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 ·  311,839 ratings  ·  28,531 reviews

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Dec 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
I am *not* white. I'm Mexican American.

I DON'T READ THE COMMENTS [ANYMORE...clearly I was reading them early on, as you can see on the first few PAGES of comments]. You're free to talk amongst yourselves, however!

[edit]For a deeper, nuanced conversation from a panel of Mexican American poets, professors, bloggers, librarians, poets laureate ... watch this video:

Nilufer Ozmekik
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a mind blowing beginning of a book! A mother, Lydia and her little boy, Luca hid themselves in the bathtub for not being other victims of family massacre. The contract killers/ most dangerous drug-lord’s dirtbags kept looking for them, firing their guns, calling their names. And finally they thought they were not at the house so they left the place and 16 innocent victims behind.

Now mother and her son have to leave the country for staying alive because one of the powerful men is chasing th
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ok seems like a bunch of privileged 'let me show you how woke I am' white people have decided they can speak for the Latin community. Surprise asshats, I am of Mexican and Native American blood.

This is a work of FICTION. Google it if you don't understand. The author owes you nada. Move on. Get over yourself. Fuck off.

To say that a non Latina has no right to write about Latin issues is absurd. Tell that to all of the writers of WWII fiction. Again with that word fiction.

Any book that shines lig
Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman
Dec 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
horribly racist book abt mexico written by a white lady. sooooooooooooooooo tired of yts pretending like they understand. stop telling our stories through your horribly racist oppressive lenses. please read a real review:
Jan 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
I wish I could give this book negative stars because it is, as its title attests, dirt.

It is also profoundly racist.

Here is my essay about the dissent surrounding this book, dissent that is being erased, disappeared and silenced:
I doubt there is a single person here on Goodreads that has not heard at least a hint of the controversy surrounding this book. I’m also confident that nearly every reader has at least a basic idea of the synopsis of American Dirt. So, I’m not really touching either of those elements in my review. I am a white woman, living in upstate New York, thousands of miles from Mexico. I have no real personal experience regarding the Mexican migrant issue, and therefore cannot speak to whether or not auth ...more
Elyse  Walters
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, immigration
That beginning is gripping!!!

The most anticipated novel for 2020 - has the word controversy around it.
I wasn’t even aware of the controversial issues until yesterday.

As pure FICTION - it’s sooooo engaging!!
“In a different life, he could have been someone good”.
“This isn’t a different life”.

Much to engage your thinking...
How in the world does one debate the degrees of violence?

It changes something inside us!
Plus... It’s not easy to
Angela M
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read this novel because of the praise and high ratings by a number of my trusted Goodreads friends. Then just before I started to read it, I became aware of the criticisms in both the literary and press at large and I made the decision not to read any more of those articles until I finished the book. You’ll have to read the criticisms for yourself and decide whether you think the book is worth reading.

In spite of everything said about the novel, I found it to be riveting, informativ
Kate Olson
Jan 18, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF the audiobook (free review copy from at 15% for various reasons including overly dramatic writing that doesn’t fit my reading preferences, major representation issues and perpetuation of racist stereotypes.

ETA: I encourage readers to find books about this issue that more accurately depict Mexico and the immigrant experience. One excellent option would be this one:

The Devil's Highway: A True Story


ETA 3:
Feb 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: american, group-read, 2020
Good god.

I know there's an angry wasp nest of controversy surrounding this book (about cultural appropriation, about misappropriation, about racism in the publishing industry, about Oprah and her sticker-of-doom, about a book launch decorated with barbed wire, about a white person writing a story for other white people so they can feel better about themselves and more enlightened in regards to the Mexican migrant's plight, and so on, and so forth).

But I'm not going to go there. I'm a Canuck in
Anne Bogel
UPDATE: I read this book in early fall 2019, before important critiques and interviews were published. Some commenters have helpfully linked those in comments so you can see some of what I'm referencing. I've cleared my star rating. I'm listening, I'm learning, I'm asking questions. I considered deleting my original review; for now I'm leaving it below.

I thought this was absolutely fantastic and I can't wait for everyone I know to read it so we can talk about it together. If you follow me, you
4.5 stars
Is this the definitive immigrant experience? I’m not naïve enough to think so. This is fiction.
Were there clichés or negative stereotypes? Not that I could see. Instead, this book destroyed the stereotypes. As the author notes in her epilogue the people are not “faceless brown masses”, an often quoted phrase by the naysayers taken totally out of context – it’s an image the author says she tried (quite successfully) to dispel. The people crossing into our borders are individuals with ba
Diane S ☔
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 Due to the controversy surrounding this book, Angela, Esil and I decided to make this our monthly read. Nice to bounce thoughts off of my trusted reading buddies. I was concerned I wouldn't be able to give this a fair and unbiased reading, so I tried not to look into this further, not read any other reviews, until finishing.

I found it to be surprisingly well done and on an important subject. I truly liked these characters and felt for what they had gone through and the effort it took for the
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been dreading this review because I don't love writing reviews in the first place and - as everyone else on the planet undoubtedly knows - this book is steeped in controversy. I've read all kinds of viewpoints but I was unwilling to let any of them prejudge the book for me. My rating system is incredibly simple and completely subjective. If a story or the writing moves me, that book is going to get a high rating.

I've read that many people found the story over the top, or melodramatic or im
Melissa ~ Bantering Books
Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews.

My mind has been hard at work the past two days.

It has been relentlessly spinning, attempting to organize all of my many, many, MANY thoughts about American Dirt. I have spent the last five days fully immersed in this novel, and I have much to say.

With American Dirt being so steeped in controversy, I had originally believed I would simply read and rate it. Keep my mouth shut. It would be, by far, the safest, most non-controversial
Jan 22, 2020 marked it as lost-interest
As a person who constantly complains about writers borrowing and cashing in on Russian culture without having any expertise to do so (you, Leigh Bardugo, you, Julia Phillips), I find the takedown of this novel fascinating and infinitely satisfying (obviously, the stakes are not the same). Ever since The Help (and definitely way before that) well meaning white ladies have been lining their pockets by appropriating and "educating." Maybe it will finally stop now? You want to write about a differen ...more
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

DNF @ p.61

I don't like people telling me how to think and even though I respect the one-star reviews of people who were genuinely hurt by this book and felt like it dirtied or tarnished their culture, I do not support the people who are going onto the reviews of people who read or want to read this book and are telling them not to read it. 1) Since when has telling someone not to do something ever made them not want to do it? And 2) Atta
Jan 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
Exploitative trauma-porn coming from a non-Mexican white woman. Full of harmful stereo-types and stylized violence. But of course why be critical of what you’re reading, right?

Do not recommend.
Also consider:
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera
Unaccompanied by Javier Zamora
Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez
The Devil's Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto Urrea
The Gringo Champion by Aura Xilonen
Retablos: Stories from a Life Lived Along the Border by Octavio Solis
Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran
Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli
Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
The Distance Between Us by
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Forced to flee from Acapulco after the massacre of their entire family, Lydia and her eight year old son Luca become migrants and begin their journey to the United States.
What a journey!
This is an extraordinary novel!
This is a page turner that explores all the elements.. grief, love, kindness, survival...
The movie rights have already been acquired...
I don’t care about any controversy about the book or’s a NOVEL. a great one!
Dec 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
edit instead of taking the time to comment telling me something im not going to read please donate to border angels: https://borderangels.us10.list-manage...

I'm sure we can all agree, you having read this book and understood the implications and the importance of the work being done at the border that this a worthy cause. if you can spend 28.99 on the book you can spare a donation, n'est-ce pas?

i didnt readthis book. save your breath, do not comment telling me to not rate what i havent read.

i d
Dec 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Author appears to be a white woman profiting off the suffering of Brown people, telling a story that isn't hers/her people's to share. ...more
Rebecca Kaye
Dec 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Hard pass on this. There are so many other more authentic books written on this subject. Expanding one's circle of authors is not difficult.
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
5+ outstanding stars!

I was invested in this story from page one! This novel starts with a gut wrenching, pulse pounding, horrific opening scene. One that I’ll never forget reading. We are introduced to our main characters, eight-year-old Luca and his mother Lydia. Luca and Lydia are forced to flee their hometown city of Acapulco, on the run from a powerful cartel. Their goal is to reach “el norte” where they hope to find freedom and safety.

The writing was exquisite and atmospheric - I was hangi
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 c
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
American dirt is no American Pie. It is a compelling story that evoked emotions of fear and terror but also an appreciation of what a migrant must brave to triumph over crippling circumstances that lead them to take the journeys they do, to find a better place to live: For themselves and their families.

This is story of Lydia and son, Luca, who have survived a tragic slaughter of their family and only happened to survive by chance.
A journey to escape the cartel and Mexico in hoping of reaching el
Ron Charles
The publishing world is deep in an epic mud fight over Jeanine Cummins’s new novel, “American Dirt.” It tells the story of a Mexican bookstore owner and her 8-year-old son trying to escape a poem-writing drug lord who murdered their family and wants to finish the job. The novel is just a melodramatic thriller tarted up with flowery ornaments and freighted with earnest political relevance, but it's sparked an internecine battle among the literati. Along the way, sausage-making details about how w ...more
Sep 16, 2019 rated it liked it
***Goodreads Giveaway Win***

I need to update my review after getting educated by Myriam Gurba

After reading this article ( ) . I learned to look at the book through a non-gringa point of view. Everything she said made me re-think my take on this book. Please read Myriam Gurba's review.

Here's Original Review:
This is going down as one of the best books I have ever read. I loved every single word, sentence, paragraph and chapter. Jeanine Cummins told the stor
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Bookworm Bitches : June 2021: American Dirt 7 49 8 hours, 3 min ago  
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Reader's Choice B...: March - American Dirt 2 15 Mar 23, 2021 01:14PM  

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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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