Looking for a Page Turner? Oh Do I Have the Book for You!

This book is the very definition of page turner.  I COULD NOT put it down.  One of the most powerful books I’ve ever read.  Ever.  You need to read this book…EVERYONE needs to read this book!

I once wrote a list of my top book recommendations to bring on vacation. In that post (link HERE), I discuss a bit more of my qualifications for a book to be a perfect book to bring with you on a trip.  This book was PERFECT.

I brought this book with me on our recent trip to Michigan and every morning I went outside with my book to read with a view:

American Dirt Controversy:

This is easily the most controversial book I’ve ever reviewed on my blog.  I’ve done loads of research on the controversy and there are just so many facets as to why people feel the way that they do.  The author of this book has received death threats and as a result the book tour had to be canceled!  Here is a short video that I found online which sums up all of the controversy in an easy to understand, 5 minute clip.  I know the cover photo of these 3 men looks like it has nothing to do with this but I promise that it does!  This video does NOT contain spoilers, just an overall view of why this book is making so many people really, really upset. START WATCHING AT 2:35:

So now that you have a bit of background, let’s dive into my review…

Goodreads Synopsis of American Dirt {Jeanine Cummins}:

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?

My Review of American Dirt {Jeanine Cummins}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

I absolutely loved it.  I devoured it.  I couldn’t put it down.  I cried.  My heart pounded.  I had to use my hand to cover entire paragraphs just so I wouldn’t be tempted to read ahead.


This story and these characters will stay with me for a very long time.

It’s a beautifully written, intensively involved story that had me sucked in from the very beginning allllllll the way until the very end.  I so very highly, highly recommend this book!

Pro Tip: If you are not fluent in Spanish, HAVE A PHONE NEXT TO YOU WHILE READING.  I simply CANNOT come to a word I do not understand and continue reading with an assumption of what that word means!  In American Dirt, there are LOTS of words and phrases written in Spanish.  I was actually quite impressed with how much I was able to channel my high school Spanish class (gracias, Senorita Dan!) to figure out the meanings but there were MANY words that I had to look up.  Many of these words weren’t relevant to the story (words such as “damn”, etc.) however many WERE actually relevant to the story!

For the love of God please do not send me a message telling me to get a Kindle so I can look up words as I am reading.  I don’t want one (read why HERE)!

I did an extensive amount of research on the topics in this book.  I watched videos of La Bestia.  I google imaged pictures of the places that they went.  I read countless articles about immigration and learned so much about so many different and important topics.  I LOVE WHEN BOOKS INSPIRE ME TO WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TOPICS I MAY NOT ALREADY HAVE AN EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT!  Oh I learned SO much from this book.  Interesting facts, heartbreaking facts, mind blowing facts.

As for my opinion of Jeanine Cummins writing this book without personally having lived through this herself…I’m not entirely sure that even matters.  This story is brilliant and IMPORTANT and needs to be shared.  Does it really matter WHO shares it?  Many people are saying that this isn’t “her story to tell” but truthfully, how many fiction writers are basing their stories solely on personal experience?  Jeanine Cummins is a brilliant storyteller and this book is an exceptional story which will make readers think, discuss, and analyze.  I cannot speak to the stereotypes in this book but what I CAN speak to is the fact that I will always support books which make readers THINK about topics outside of their comfort zone.  Any book which encourages people to talk about issues and brings awareness and understanding to hard to discuss topics deserves praise.  Jeanine Cummins did just that.

Bottom Line:

This book is absolutely brilliant.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.



Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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One thought on “Looking for a Page Turner? Oh Do I Have the Book for You!

  1. I have been hearing good stuff about this (as well all the controversy).. I am very conflicted on what stories can people write or speak to. Who decides that? I think people should get to tell the stories that want and leave the judgement to the readers. And if a reader thinks its not the writer’s story to tell, that’s their criticism and they can chose to not buy the book. But if another reader, can take something away from it, then so be it.


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