American Dirt

By Jeanine Cummins,

Book cover of American Dirt

Book description

'Breathtaking... I haven't been so entirely consumed by a book for years' Telegraph
'I'll never stop thinking about it' Ann Patchett


Vivid, visceral, utterly compelling, AMERICAN DIRT is an unforgettable story of a mother…

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Why read it?

5 authors picked American Dirt as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

American Dirt begins with a bang, literally, a violent and shocking scene that nearly put me off.

If I’d been reading on the page, I think I might not have continued, as I don’t enjoy violence, but, as I was listening on Audible, I gave it a bit longer. And soon I was utterly, almost uncomfortably, hooked. The gripping need to continue listening hardly let up for an instant all the way through to the satisfying and nuanced ending.

As well as being a truly compelling story, this novel really opened my imagination to the plight of people who are…

Lydia, who lived in Acapulco, finds herself on the run with her only child, Lucas, due to the recent murder of her husband and feeling threatened herself. It is a timely book considering the countless number of people trying to enter the US—some of them fearing for their very lives. Although fiction, it was inspired by real-life people with real-life issues and how a mother will do anything to protect her child. As a mother of four, I understood I would do anything to protect my children. It was easy and yet painful to put myself in Lydia’s position as…

This book rocked my world.

Lydia and her young son begin a harrowing journey from Mexico to the United States after being targeted for death by a drug cartel. American Dirt has everything I relish in a story: a riveting plot, top-notch writing, believable characters, and spot-on dialogue. What’s more, it drives home the plight of migrants in a way that news stories can’t. I didn’t just read this book; I lived it. I became that desperate mother. And I too would trek across deserts and leap onto moving trains to save my child.

From Kimberly's list on children in peril.

Lydia Quixano Perez is every mother living every mother’s darkest nightmare when her journalist husband and family are murdered by narcoterrorists in Mexico. Forced to flee at a moment’s notice for America with her young son, Lydia is transformed from a prosperous middle-class woman into a desperate migrant fighting to survive the desperate journey to freedom and safety. What most shone to me in this novel is the clever way Cummins transforms a narco novel into a story of a mother’s relationship with her young son and her determination to deliver him from evil.

From Sid's list on kick-ass women.

This book grabbed me right from the first page. Lydia and her young son, Luca, are on the run from a cartel leader who has killed her family. They are trying to make it to American soil to avoid the cartel’s reach. As they trek across the Mexican desert, they find that the cartel leader, Javier, has spies everywhere looking for them. They can trust no one and you can be assured that every page will be full of tension. Beautifully written.  

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