Tuesday, January 14, 2020

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

También de este lado hay sueños. On this side too, there are dreams.

Lydia Quixano Pérez 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 a few 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?

American Dirt will leave listeners utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity. It is one of the most important books for our times.

Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.

Audio CD
Expected publication: January 21st 2020
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Original Title: American Dirt
ISBN: 1250260612 


American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I listened to American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins pretty much non-stop since I received it, most kindly from Macmillan Audio, and my life was consumed by this novel. Lydia and Luca’s plight has touched me so deeply and this gorgeously written story not only broke my heart, it gave me inspiration and hope. American Dirt will stay with me for the rest of my life and I do believe this is THE book of our times and that everyone should read it.

The relationship between Lydia and her son Luca is powerful and fierce. Lydia struggles to keep Luca safe in a world that is violent and in turmoil, danger is everywhere yet there is kindness, too. I quickly became emotionally invested in them and at times I was frantic with worry or whooping with joy, crying with Lydia, worried about Luca or I sat pensively, thinking because that is what American Dirt evoked. So many different emotions and feelings but also thoughts of real people in real situations much like this.

The narration provided by Yareli Arizmendi is spectacular and an absolute joy to listen to. Ms. Arizmendi’s reading of American Dirt transported me to every scene in the book with her beautiful voice and style, creating just the right atmosphere and making it such a compelling listening experience. If you enjoy audiobooks, you will really love American Dirt in audio. If not, I’d give American Dirt a try.

Thank you so very much to MacMillan Audio and Jeanine Cummins for providing me with American Dirt in exchange for my honest review.

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