There was much controversy stirred up by the publication of this book . . . bias percolated in some circles against an author who wasn’t considered to be the “right” voice to spark new interest in the immigration reform conversation . . . rumors and threats that ultimately led to sudden cancellations during the book release tour.
Whether this uproar had teeth or just evolved into a clever marketing hook—no matter. The word about this “hot button issue” novel got out and spread faster than a new meme. American Dirt has legs. In this book Lydia and her son Luca’s struggle to survive stands tall and remains in your face with each page to grab your attention . . . a compelling story that reminds us all that on a human level there is no “us“ and “them”.
Before any hackles go up . . . I realize that there is much to fear from allowing violent offenders to enter our country without impediment, but understand we are leaving many innocent women and children in the grasp of those same dangers without protection and without a lifeline. Some folks want to de-humanize and segregate, creating walls (both real and figurative) out of fear . . . a knee-jerk need to preserve and protect. We need to find a better way than to leave so many vulnerable people without recourse (both foreign and domestic). That is an underlying message that pulses throughout the pages of this book. There must be a better way and we must find it . . . because being rigid and selfish was not what made the United States of America worth fighting for.
How can we continue to hold our heads high inside our bubble, sitting at the table of so-called freedom while denying other worthy souls the chance to earn there place as well?
Without much digging, I do not know if Jeanine Cummins got all of the statistics, inflections, or cultural tidbits completely right . . . but I think she made a Herculean effort in that regard. Any writing that stirs you has merit, whether it makes you laugh, cry, or brings you to anger . . . it has made you think and that is always beneficial.
A must-read—5 stars