American Dirt

American Dirt

A Novel

Book - 2020
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"También de este lado hay sueños. Lydia Quixano Perez 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 four 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?"--
Publisher: New York :, Flatiron Books,, 2020.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
Copyright Date: ©2019.
ISBN: 9781250209764
Characteristics: 386 pages ; 24 cm

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ArapahoeJulieH May 11, 2020

I read American Dirt with my book group because I had an interest the controversy over it. Had to plow through the first half of the book as the characters and story line didn’t feel authentic. The second half of the book was a little more interesting; however, the writing style was lacking throughout. The story follows Lydia, an upper class Acapulco bookstore owner, who is married to a journalist. Lydia enters a close “literary friendship” with Javier who (much to her surprise) turns out to be the leader of a major cartel. When Lydia’s husband exposes Javier in an article he has written, Javier guns down her entire family (husband, mother, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces), leaving Lydia and her eight year old son, Luca, to flee Mexico to the US with basically nothing. It was worth it to watch Oprha’s facilitation of interviews with the author and a line-up of Latinix women. After reading American Dirt and all the fuss the publishing industry made over the book, it really made me wonder how they chose the next best read. It couldn’t be profit over art, could it?

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Daisybates
May 06, 2020

Not only was this book an unforgettable story, it was a learning experience I am greatful for! Highly recommend.

p
PJD
May 05, 2020

A real eye-opener!

k
krsbozo
Apr 28, 2020

Brutal, controversial, interesting, and somewhat compelling. I had issues with parts of the plot, and there were things I couldn't believe. For example, the boy Luca doesn't say any words until he is four, and then he speaks in complete sentences. Really? That's magical realism, perhaps. But this book is written as a true-to-life novel as far as I can tell. Lots of death and destruction. Rapes of young girls. Menace everywhere. I put it down for a bit, and then came back to it and finished the book, because what else am I going to do during the pandemic? So, that's the compelling part. I wanted to know what was going to happen even though I had not fully bought into the premise. It's interesting that the boy Luca, aged 9, is the hero and the spiritual center of the book. He does the right thing when the Mom is blinded by her love of Luca. She will do whatever she has to do to make sure that he lives, even if that means turning her back on other children that need her help. A mother's love is sometimes so intense that it warps the mother, even a good one.

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BeckyR21
Apr 20, 2020

Superb. A page turner from the very first page. It is unbelievable and heart-breaking. An important book to bring attention to the plight of migrants. A testament to the strength of human character and hope. Well done.

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kathyconroy
Apr 15, 2020

This book is well written. This journey of a mother and son is horrifying and sad. A worthwhile read to understand and have some insight into the what illegal immigrants go through when trying to get to America via Mexico.

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Eil_1
Apr 14, 2020

A believable story about the challenges the American migrants (from Mexico and South America) are faced with through their need to reach freedom from those who reach into innocent families and kidnap, torture and kill in the name of the drug cartels. One cannot help but commiserate with these people. It is truly a book for these times and one that we cannot overlook.

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weaverleeanna
Apr 06, 2020

Don't miss this book because of the controversy. American Dirt is a human story, no matter the storyteller. Readers seeking to make an emotional connection to the plight of migrants whose lives are in danger will gain insight and empathy in this important novel. It's the story of a woman and her child escaping from life-threatening violence in Acapulco. I believe the novel is powerful enough to encourage conversations about borders and humane treatment of immigrants. Fiction important enough to do this is fiction worth reading.

k
kwsmith
Mar 29, 2020

This is a dramatic story about a highly educated migrant mother's chaotic journey from Mexico to the USA with her prodigy wonder child in tow. This is an entertaining and entirely fictional tale based on the author's personal research rather than any direct experience with illegal immigration. It's a suspenseful read that should appeal to most thriller fans. If you're looking for a realistic depiction of the immigrant experience, you probably won't find it here. But if you're looking for a good story, this one delivers.

JCLColleenO Mar 26, 2020

Very powerful-I'd recommend this to every adult, & would be great required reading for high school students

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weaverleeanna
Apr 06, 2020

"Every day a fresh horror, and when it's over, this feeling of surreal detachment. A disbelief, almost, in what they just endured. The mind is magical. Human beings are magical.”

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cknightkc
Mar 03, 2020

“There’s a wonderful piece of graffiti on the border wall in Tijuana…. TAMBIÉN DE ESTE LADO HAY SUEÑOS. On this side, too, there are dreams.” - Author’s Note p. 383

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cknightkc
Mar 03, 2020

“That these people would leave their homes, their cultures, their families, even their languages, and venture into tremendous peril, risking their very lives, all for the chance to get to the dream of some faraway country that doesn’t even want them.” - p. 94

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