American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Review: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Jeanine Cummins has attracted a huge amount of controversy in the States for her latest novel.

Jeanine Cummins has attracted a huge amount of controversy in the States for her latest novel. Despite her Irish / Puerto Rican heritage, Cummins has been heavily criticised to the extent that the book’s publishers cancelled a book tour because of fears for her safety.

My Canadian neighbour had recommended this book to me. She loved it and read it in two days. I was thrilled to find the book on our library shelf. At the same time flabbergasted that my friend had read it in two days.

This is the story, a modern-day odyssey, of a mother, Lydia Perez, and her son Luca on the Mexican migrant trail. They are forced to leave their once comfortable and privileged life in Acapulco – a life shattered and destroyed in an afternoon. They are the sole survivors. They have no other option but to take the dangerous and perilous sixteen-day journey to the Mexican–Texas border. And further.

All the elements are in place for this social issues thriller – a relentless villain, an improbable attraction, a clock-ticking chase to safety, a conveniently precocious child. Luca has a perfect sense of direction. Thank the stars.

You can’t help but be swept along, running with them away from the misery and
violence. And we meet others in the same situation, such well-rounded characters, with their heart-wrenching stories. A definite heart-rate raiser and blow your mind page turner. The book has sold over 5,000,000 copies Of course it has caused great controversy due to the fact that Ms Cummins is non-Latino and white. And so couldn’t possibly write the story. Furthermore she has been accused of being ill informed, of over-simplifying, being exploitative. Mmmmmm – a book does a good job if it highlights the plight of others. It certainly shook my comfortable cushion. The rights have been sold to a film company. I doubt that I’d go to see it. Too hairy scary.

A compelling story. Glad I read it.

From recommendation by a Library Member