American Dirt : Book Review

Survival. That is the theme of this book, American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.

I loved this story. It was heart-wrenching, but I was hooked from the beginning. The story begins with the massacre of the extended family of a journalist by the cartel Los Jardineros in Mexico. I mentioned on F-book that I was reading it and was told that it was the subject of controversy. I looked into that and all I can say is , whatever. You can’t please everyone, nor should you try. I won’t go into the controversy here. Freedom of speech! Freedom of creativity! We must guard those with our lives.

The writing was so good. I felt like I was there with the mom and her son as they attempted to escape the cartel, experiencing every terrifying moment of jumping on La Bestia, riding the train and running from la migra , as they made their way across Mexico from Acapulco to el norte, the United States. Lydia’s and Luca’s emotions were my emotions. The pain of grieving the loss of their family, the fear of the unknown, the determination to survive against all odds, the struggle with thirst and exhaustion and hunger, anger at the injustice and violence, I lived it with them. I already had empathy with migrants, but this book gave me even more insight.

Read it. It will leave it’s mark on your heart. It’s 1311 pages and it was never boring or slow. Let me know if you read it.


  1. Ok. I thought the most interesting thing about the book was the controversy surrounding it. My problem was the main character…I couldn’t sympathize with her, and this was the sort of book I think you needed to sympathize with. Though I did find the escape very interesting.

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