American Dirt

American Dirt

Book - 2020
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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? American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed when they finish reading it. A page-turner filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page, it is a literary achievement."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2020
ISBN: 9781250209764
Characteristics: 386 pages ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 11, 2021

After having a family party shot up by the cartel in Acapulco, a mother and her young son, flee being the only family survivors. From Acapulco to the United States, we follow their dangerous, frightening, bold journey. As the cartel hunts them, they become more and more marginalized, having to take more dangerous steps to escape detection.

Dec 28, 2020

This book was well researched, written, and absolutely worth the read. I got through it much faster than I anticipated and would highly recommend it. Make sure you are prepared for it as there are some scenes that feel like they "couldn't" happen because I cannot imagine them personally - which is exactly why it is important to pick this up.

Dec 18, 2020

The publication of this novel stirred up a much needed debate about authenticity, representation, and cultural appropriation. There are valid points on both sides of this argument, and context is everything, but my problem with this book isn't so much that Cummins doesn't represent the community she is writing about. Worse, she is exploiting it to craft a genre crime/suspense thriller that removes the very compelling and immediate issues of asylum and abuse of immigrants into the realm of escapist entertainment. Her protagonist is an upper middle-class Mexican woman who forms a close relationship with a drug cartel kingpin. Not exactly your typical asylum candidate. Her escape and the cat-and-mouse play between these two forms the plot--another damsel in distress. True, she provides some compelling descriptions of the dangers and fears of getting across the border, but does so in service to a genre not known for its realism. Escapism is fine, but there are life-and-death issues in the real world that deserve better treatment.

Dec 08, 2020

A fictional story but well researched of migrants and a mother's love. The author brings out all the stress, fear, and mistrust one would feel while fleeing for your life and yet there is compassion too for others who are suffering from their own stories who are seeking hope in the US. Well written and should enlighten the reader about migrants coming through Mexico.

Nov 30, 2020

Look, I'm all for representation, but I think the controversy over this book because the author is not a native Mexican/of Mexican descent is a bridge too far. This is an extremely well researched and well written book that is compelling from the first page to the last, and anything that can shed light on the plight of some migrants can only help, even if it's a fictionalized account. I think we need to have a broader discussion on whether books can have merit irrespective of the author's background IF the subject matter is treated accurately and with the respect it deserves (or doesn't, if it's an infamous person or horrific actual event).

Nov 30, 2020

There is controversary about this book because the author is white and not Mexican. However, I felt that the message was very clear. I was deeply moved and was given an insiders look into the plight of the immigrant trying to cross the US southern border. I had no idea what it actually meant to "cross illegally" from Mexico into the US. This book is a very good description of that plight. It was heart breaking, shocking and stirred a lot of emotion and discussion. For that, I feel it should be forgiven it's controversary. I also feel the controversary is good because it draws more people to the book which will result in more white awareness of what is actually happening at our southern border.

Nov 23, 2020

There is a lot of controversy about this book, which I read up on while I started reading. The author is not herself an immigrant, and that's where the controversy arises. I think if you keep that in mind - meaning don't take everything totally to heart or pass judgment based on the book, then you are in for quite the ride. It's very well-written, gripping, disturbing!, and thrilling. I would say it's about as disturbing as some Stephen King novels. If you're okay with that, then it's definitely worth the read.

Nov 12, 2020

One of the most moving books I've read in my life time the author dose not disappoint! Gave me a whole new perspective on immigrants. Wish the author dose include as many Mexican dialogue as it has in the book. For a non-fluent person I found the words effecting my enjoyment with the book

mazinwhistler Nov 04, 2020

This story is not for the faint hearted - from the first page to the last you are on the edge of your seat. Will they survive? Will they make it to 'El Norte'? What horrible things will happen on their journey? Will the cartel finally catch them? Despite the controversy surrounding this book (white female author writing about Mexican migrant experiences) this is a great read for a work fiction. If you are looking for non-fiction on this topic - they are out there but are most likely much harder to stomach.

VaughanPLTiziana Oct 26, 2020

A gripping work of fiction about a mother and son's journey to flee the Mexican cartel. One particular quote that resonated with me: "Lydia is dubious at first, but if you can't trust a librarian, who can you trust?"

View All Comments


Add a Quote
VaughanPLTiziana Oct 26, 2020

"Lydia is dubious at first, but if you can't trust a librarian, who can you trust?" -pg. 375

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.”

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

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


Add Age Suitability
Nov 12, 2020

Mich321 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at YLPL

To Top