American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Accusations of cultural appropriation distract from the torrent of research and authenticity that Jeanine Cummins channels into her writing.
Even though she can't fulfill the promise of her setup with a fully satisfying conclusion, her narrative about the struggles of a mother and her son to evade cartel assassins to make it north of the border is powerful and illuminating.
Careful to paint a respectful and inquisitive -- while still foreboding -- tale of the migrants' journey, Cummins uses eloquence and skilful emotional insight to deliver an often transcendent tale. Packed with stunning twists -- although maybe one or two too many -- and penetrating insight, the book feels like a product of experience rather than study.
Since so much of the book takes place in Southern Arizona and Sonora, the book has particularly high resonance for those from the Tucson and Nogales areas. "American Dirt" is a story that screams to be told, and Cummins was just the right author to answer the call.
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