I picked up American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins as I’d seen it on the best-sellers lists, I was gifted a voucher to spend at my local Jarrold and it appeared on the table of “buy one, get one half-price”. And I’m very glad I did.
American Dirt features one of the most powerful opening chapters I’ve ever read. It instantly immerses you into this dangerous world you’re about to read about. And it will keep you locked in until the very last page.
Plot – 5/5
American Dirt tells the story of Lydia who must escape from her home town after the most dangerous gang in the country threatens her and her son’s life. Lydia decides she needs to leave the country and try and get into North America if she wants any future for her and her child. There is one particular villain in this book, however, there’s a very interesting aspect to this villain that I’ve rarely seen in a novel before. It adds another layer to the whole story.
The story told in his book really grabs you by the collar and doesn’t let go. Lydia’s love for her son Luca really impresses itself upon you and the journey they must go on together only makes you vouch for them even more. You’re taken on a journey that’ll make you feel tense, worried, distraught and humbled. There are some topics covered in this book that may make some people feel understandably exceedingly uncomfortable. This book’s plot was deep, it was harrowing and it left a real impression upon me.
Characters – 5/5
I love Luca. Luca clearly has a mild form of autism – he has an incredible knowledge of Geography for an eight-year-old. He knows exact distances, where many places are and their distance from one another and some fine details like this. He’s a brave young boy who has a maturity far beyond his years. In a book that follows Lydia and Luca – mother and son – sometimes Luca is the one who keeps them going and says and does the right thing. He’s a pure soul in a tale that features many dark moments.
Lydia, the mother, is a saint – she wants to help everybody along their path but is also cautious of everybody. She becomes a great judge of character as she learns more and more about who the good and the bad people in the world are. The people that Lydia and Luca meet along the way are a delight. They each have their own incredib06le backstories, their own struggles, their own very valid reasons for leaving. To build a bond with these characters, Cummins doesn’t wrap them in bubble wrap. Some horrible things happen to some very important characters in this book and you should ready yourself for this.
American Dirt summary – 5/5
I do warn you, this book features some darker themes and is a book that will humble many who read it. However, if you’re ready for that sort of thing then I couldn’t recommend this book more. It’s a powerful read and one that’ll make you really feel for the characters. And you’ll likely learn something along the way too.
I’d recommend this book to anybody that needs a good reminder of how lucky they are, to anybody who likes books that could bring a tear to their eye or to anybody who just needs a really good book to read.