Life is good in Acapulco for Lydia (a bookshop owner), son Luca (age 8), and Sebastian (a journalist) until he profiles Javier, a drug lord. The cartel is not pleased and blasts into a family gathering, murdering everyone except Lydia and Luca - lucky break that they were indoors at that moment.
Now life is dangerous as Lydia and Luca are forced to flee -instant migrants headed to el norte - the dream of a safe life in the United States. Riding trains, dodging the cartel, making meager funds last, and finally getting connected with a coyote for the last hike across the forbidding desert - the chapters roll by with plenty of action, turmoil, and desperate life choices.
by Jeanine Cummins is a harrowing tale of survival. It's the tale of a mother's love for her son and the dream for a life without fear. The book is a tale of trust and the human spirit as Lydia and Luca befriend two young sisters fleeing danger in Honduras.
This is a work of fiction that was initially praised and then faulted for giving into some stereotypes or for not being authentic. I personally had no issues with the story. I felt that the author had done some research, had no doubt combined characteristics of the migrant experience into memorable characters, and she truly put us into the shoes of her protagonists.
I could sweat the heat, feel the grime, and imagine the fear of the unknown. To me, Cummins humanized the odyssey and offered sympathy and empathy for the migrant experience. Well written, strong, and full of heart, American Dirt
will draw you in. Pour a glass of water and root for Lydia and Luca.