American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins


“American Dirt”, by Jeanine Cummins


American Dirt is a 2020 novel by American author Jeanine Cummins, about the ordeal of a Mexican woman who had to leave behind her life and escape as an immigrant to US with her son. At the opening of Jeanine Cummins’s devastating and timely novel, bookshop owner Lydia and her eight-year-old son, Luca, are the only survivors of a targeted massacre by the Mexican cartel that dominates and terrorises their hometown of Acapulco. Sixteen of their relatives have been shot at a family barbecue, including Lydia’s husband and Luca’s father, a journalist who had been investigating and reporting on the drug traffickers.

What follows is the story of a mother’s desperate attempts to keep her son alive, away from the cartel whose influence stretches across Mexico and from whom she knows they will never be safe. It is through their ordeal that Cummins humanises the migrant crisis, delivering a powerful portrayal of the extraordinary lengths people will go to in order to save their loved ones. It is a moving portrait of maternal love and an unflinching description of the experiences of displaced people on the move.

As members we really enjoyed reading this book. It was very well written, had powerful descriptions throughout and the turn of events were easy to follow. Although these were menacing at times and difficult to read, we persevered and appreciated its honesty. The characters were powerful and the main characters Lydia and Luca extremely likeable. We would recommend this book and gave it a score of 9/10. Chris Munroe