Review: Vivien Horler
American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins (Tinder Press)
Reviewing the novel American Dirt has been made marginally more difficult by “the firestorm” – according to the US’s National Public Radio – that erupted when it was published in the United States in January.
It’s the story of a middle-class, bookshop-owning Mexican woman named Lydia whose family is gunned down by a drug cartel in Acapulco. She believes the cartel will come after her and her surviving son, eight-year-old Luca, and so they flee northwards, facing many dangers, towards the assumed safety of the US.
But critics, particularly Latino critics living in the US, have excoriated the book, saying it does not reflect the truth of the immigrant experience and that it uses harmful stereotypes,
One of the most uncompromising critics is Los Angeles Times writer Esmeralda Bermudez, who wrote: “In 17 years of journalism, in interviewing thousands of immigrants, I’ve never come across anyone like American Dirt’s main character.” Continue reading