Book Rating (572)
Narrator Rating (136)

American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

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Yareli Arizmendi, Jeanine Cummins

16 Hours 45 Minutes

Macmillan Audio

January 2020

Audio Book Summary

#1 New York Times Bestseller

“Extraordinary.”—Stephen King

“This book is not simply the great American novel; it’s the great novel of las Americas. It’s the great world novel! This is the international story of our times. Masterful.”—Sandra Cisneros

También de este lado hay sueños. On this side too, there are dreams.

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

American Dirt will leave listeners utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity. It is one of the most important books for our times.

Already being hailed as 'a Grapes of Wrath for our times' and 'a new American classic,' Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.

'Narrator Yareli Arizmendi illuminates the humanity and individuality of Latin American migrants as they flee toward refuge in the North..The account of Lydia and Luca's travails, including terrifying rides atop Mexico's freight trains, is utterly compelling. But it is Arizmendi's voicing of Lydia, so full of fierce tenderness, that will stay with listeners after the story's close.'—AudioFile Magazine

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  • Jessica G.

    I love this book! This is a must read for anyone who has an opinion on illegal immigration. It does not matter if you are for or against it, this book will educate the reader to learning about a life that most can only imagine. The strength of these characters, the story line and life that most are completely ignorant of are introduced to the reader almost immediately. Most people cannot comprehend what atrocities are going on in the world, and this book uncovers it. I can say, that after reading this book, it made me appreciate the many blessings I have and appreciate that I was born a United States citizen.

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  • Ulrike H.

    Loved this book! This story is truly moving and a great way to open our eyes to the other side of immigration

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  • Anonymous

    I wasn't sure I'd like this book--but I was wrong. The more I listened, the more it pulled me in. I can't believe what the characters went through. Yet, I'm hearing that this is all too factual, not fiction. A lady I know has an aunt living in Mexico, and is experiencing the actions of the drug cartels. While at times I found it a stretch of logic to hear what an 8, 14 and 15 year old were going through, it kept me involved, wanting to know how they were able to do those things. Seeing their focus at getting to "el norte" , made me realize how fortunate I am to live where I do.

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  • Barbi N.

    Wonderfully written book about the realities of undocumented immigrants and their desperation to get to freedom and safety.

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  • Lucinda D.

    Great read! I recommend it!

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  • Anonymous

    A palatable approach to a sickening crisis. Griping book. Likeable characters that are adequately developed. Although I do understand the controversy surrounding the book, I also comprehend that a book written with more authenticity, many would not read. This novel might break the ice for many to further want to become more enlightened

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  • Smadar K.

    Excellent book and narrator.

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  • Teresa Z.

    I really enjoyed this book and the narrator was excellent. She gave the story so much realism as if the main character was reading it. It’s a sad story but one I’m sure has happened to so many loving families in many different circumstances. It has happy moments both for the mother and her son. Moments when he learns his own abilities in ways he would never have had to learn if his life had gone on without the sudden horrible circumstances that life suddenly put him through. I will listen to the story again some day, and will no doubt enjoy it as much or more than I just did. It is a story that has stayed with me in ways I want to visit again. I don’t believe I would have enjoyed reading it as much as listening, as the narrator brought it to life in so deeply.

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  • Latoya L.

    American Dirt, the title had me thinking something totally different but after reading the entire book, it means so much. Lydia and her son Luka, were fleeing from a man her who was part of the cartel. They traveled the road, that many migrants take, by bus, train, and by feet. They met 2 other girls Rebecca and Soledad, who were also fleeing too, from another man who was controlling and tried to kill their father. American dirt us about making it to American soil, for a better life and all the roadblocks they encounter. Overall good story, definitely gives me a better outlook on those seeking asylum, undocumented familes, and immigration. #Book27of2020 #bookworm #whatsnext

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  • Shelley B.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Highly recommend!

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