Have you ever read a book that just completely made you forget the rest of the world? As if you’re lost in the words and immersed so deeply that you’re on the emotional journey with the characters. If you have never experienced such an incredible feeling before, you will when you read American Dirt.
American Dirt is remarkably written by Jeanine Cummins with suspense on every page. Lydia Pérez is a middle-class Woman living in Acapulco. She owns a bookstore, has a husband that she loves, and a son, Luca, that she adores. All in all, her life seems well off considering where she lives. The cartel threatens every corner of their city but she’s able to avoid them for the most part. She pays her dues and they leave her alone. That is until one day, Javier walks into her bookstore.
Javier is el jefe of the newest cartel taking over, Los Jardineros. Lydia has no idea who he is and because of this, she see’s him as just another book lover. Their passion for books and the magic of the words on the pages connects them in a way that no one can understand. Javier becomes such a dear friend of Lydia that she can’t even begin to imagine what her husband Sebastián is about to tell her is true.
Sebastián is a journalist doing a profile piece on the newest jefe who is taking over the city…Javier. She can’t believe that her truest friend who seems to gentle and charming, is the one responsible for all of the gruesome violence. But, after reading the profile piece, Lydia believes that Javier will not be upset. She is sure that her and her family won’t need to hide this time considering they’re friends. In fact, she thinks this article will actually flatter Javier. Little did she know she was deeply wrong.
While Lydia’s family is celebrating her nieces quinceañera, Javier sends Los Jardineros for revenge on the Pérez family. In the blink of an eye, Lydia’s entire family is murdered. Only Lydia and her son Lucas are in the house when this happens and they survive. But Lydia now knows that there is a target on her back. She must move quickly to get her and Luca to safety.
With the odds against her in every way, she must turn off her grieving emotions for her family and focus on her next move. Going to el Norte…the United States. Lydia and Luca face unimaginable obstacles on their grueling journey North. From riding La Bestia where death is almost unavoidable, to walking miles and miles in the dry desert days and freezing desert nights. They make friends and enemies along the way which will leave you on the edge of your seat with every turn of the page.
I’ve read about 8 books in book club over the past year and hands down American Dirt is by far the best book. You can’t help but feel like you’re right there next to Luca and Lydia just hoping that they’ll make it to the U.S. and escape the cartel. It also gives you an even greater perspective of the terrifying journey that immigrants make to escape the dangerous conditions that they live in. Yet, they receive criticism and people treat them as if they’re less than for wanting a better life. I have to end this by saying that I NEVER cry after watching movies or reading books. However, this story definitely almost made me cry. The emotion is overwhelming in the best way. I highly recommend American Dirt and encourage you to feel free and share what you think when you’re done!