Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Book Review ~ American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

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Tinder Press
21 January 2010

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

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 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 a few 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?

What did I think about it..

After a catastrophic event involving her family, Lydia Quixano Pérez and her eight year old son, Luca, are forced to flee their Acapulco home in search of a safer life in the United States. However, this exodus is fair from straightforward and Lydia and Luca face atrocious danger as they become two of many others who are leaving Mexico in search of a better, and safer, life.

This book took me by surprise, not because the story was disappointing, far from it, the story telling is really very good indeed. It was more my reaction to the events of the story which surprised me as, perhaps naively, I had no idea that  immigrants leaving Mexico for the United States faced such a perilous journey. The author brings the situation alive in a meaningful and thought-provoking way and I must admit to having my heart in my mouth on more than one occasion as Lydia does what she needs to do in order to keep both her and Luca safe. The pace is fast and the

American Dirt is cautionary story of our time and is an absolute testament to the bravery and fortitude of the many thousands of immigrants who have made a similar journey a country teeming with danger in the same horrific and perilous circumstances.

Recommended Read -  Absolutely ✔

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.

Twitter @jeaninecummins


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