American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
"American Dirt" by Jeanine Cummins is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that tells the story of a mother's love and sacrifice for her son amidst the backdrop of brutal violence and danger. The book follows the journey of Lydia and her son Luca, who are forced to flee their comfortable life in Acapulco after a brutal massacre takes the lives of their entire family.
The book is divided into four parts, each of which depicts a different phase of Lydia and Luca's journey. The narrative is structured in such a way that each section builds upon the previous one, creating a powerful and emotional story that is both gripping and informative.
In the first part of the book, we are introduced to Lydia, who runs a bookstore in Acapulco, and her husband Sebastian, a journalist who is investigating the drug cartels. The massacre that occurs is a turning point in the book and sets the stage for the rest of the story. We see Lydia's world crumble around her as she struggles to keep herself and her son alive in the face of great danger.
The second part of the book sees Lydia and Luca on the run, trying to evade the cartel members who are hunting them down. Along the way, they meet other migrants who are also fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries. Some of these migrants become their allies, offering them support and protection, while others betray them, putting their lives in even greater danger.
The descriptions of the harsh realities facing migrants trying to cross the border are heart-wrenching and eye-opening. The author does an excellent job of highlighting the dangers that these individuals face, from the threat of violence to the risk of starvation and dehydration. Through the experiences of Lydia and Luca, we come to understand the incredible sacrifices that migrants must make in order to find safety and security.
In the third part of the book, Lydia and Luca are taken in by a group of migrants who are travelling together for safety. They form a bond with a young girl named Soledad, who becomes a surrogate daughter to Lydia. This part of the book explores themes of family, motherhood, and the lengths that a mother will go to protect her child. We see Lydia's love for her son grow stronger as she witnesses the violence and hardship that they must endure.
Finally, in the fourth part of the book, Lydia and Luca reach the US border and are faced with the daunting task of crossing it. The tension in this part of the book is palpable, as they face numerous obstacles and setbacks. The border is heavily guarded, and the consequences of being caught are severe. The ending of the book is both uplifting and heartbreaking, as Lydia and Luca's future hangs in the balance.
Overall, "American Dirt" is a powerful and emotional book that sheds light on the plight of migrants and the harsh realities they face. Through Lydia and Luca's journey, we see the strength of the human spirit and the power of a mother's love. It is a book that will stay with you long after you finish reading it, prompting you to reflect on the struggles of those who are forced to flee their homes and seek safety elsewhere.