American Dirt- Book Review

By: Jeanine Cummins

My Rating- 5/5 Stars — Genre: Fiction, Contemporary — N. of Pages: 400

I bought this book entirely on a whim. I don’t usually read books about South America or the USA; however, every time I saw this book on the shelf, I found myself wanting to read it. I finally bought it, and I am so glad I did. It was a fantastic book detailing the story of Lydia and her son Luca, both fictional characters. Everything that Lydia experiences with the Mexican cartels, the migration routes, the migrants she meets and the final crossing into the USA are real experiences that many migrants face when deciding to leave their homes in Mexico.

The central theme of the book…

Survival is the most dominant theme of this book. First, Lydia focuses on surviving daily life in Mexico with drug cartels running the city she lives in. She then needs to focus on keeping her son alive when the central drug cartel is after them. The whole book is how Lydia and her son survive many days of running from one cartel run town to another. In the end, her new life also focuses on her daily struggle to survive. The struggles that Mexican and South American migrants face as they head to the American border are unimaginable, and this novel brings to light these real hardships.

What I learned from this book…

The author paints a real and vivid picture of what many migrants experience in the dangerous countries they live in that force them to decide to head north. Cummins paints a clear picture of what being a migrant means and the unbearable obstacles that they encounter. I found myself thinking about the current political climate in the US and the horrible conditions migrants face along the US border. As a Canadian, you don’t hear about the ongoing struggles migrants face in their home country, the reason people leave their homes for the dangerous route to America. I felt like I learned a lot about the challenges that many migrants face at home and their desperation for a new life. Lydia and Luca’s journey is extraordinary and unimaginable. Knowing that thousands of migrants take this route every day is incredibly shocking, and Cummins details this sad story perfectly.

Further thoughts…

This book also makes you think of the people and families who don’t make it through to freedom, who are turned back or are killed along the way. I also found myself thinking about the people who make it across to safer countries and how they live their new lives. There are many dimensions to Cummins’s book, and I highly recommend it!

Other books written by Jeanine Cummins:

*A Rip in Heaven
*The Outside Boy
*The Crooked Branch

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