Book Rating (166)
Narrator Rating (43)

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

Unabridged Audio Book

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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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  • 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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  • Jennifer C.

    I loved every minute of this book and was completely captivated. And the two friends to whom I have recommended American Dirt agree. The style of writing lends itself particularly well to audio, so that you can enjoy Cummins wonderful descriptive powers with ease. I bought it so I could fall asleep listening, but it had the opposite effect and kept me awake until the wee small hours .. even though I didn’t want it to end.

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  • Anonymous

    If you want a book that keeps you interested & engaged the whole time, this does. I am not sure about how true to the people it describes it is, though & am uncomfortable that the writer is not a central American & didn't actually experience this herself

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  • Carol S.

    An incredibly well written book that I couldn’t wait to listen over and over. You will be on the edge of your seat because of the care you feel for the characters. Could be a true story and would Make an awesome movie.

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  • Anonymous

    I loved this story. It changed me forever. I come form immigrants who did not experience the horrific journey that the characters in the book suffered. It is a perspective that I could never experience without the words. I do not care about the controversy because I think this is a book that shows lends to the main characters and provokes compassion and concern. I think this should be required reading.

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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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  • Phyllis S.

    Amazing story of survival and endurance. I was drawn into this story and could almost feel the pain of Lydia’s and Luca’s dangerous quest for freedom and life. I know that today there are 100’s more seeking refuge and the right to a life free from such torment and pain.

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  • Betty O.

    I loved this book and very proud to support a fellow Boriqua! I do understand the controversy with the book but after listening to the author explain why she wrote this book, I get it. The controversy is that the book portrays a medium class Mexican woman who becomes friendly with a cartel boss and makes a comment that in another life this Cartel boss could had been Bill Gates is offensive and untrue. There other statements made that many people were offended with. However, I loved the book and was able to connect with many of the stories since I worked with undocumented families for over 15 years and their stories of crossing to America was similar to American Dirt.

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  • Hannah V.

    A very well written novel. The book never slowed down and continuously became more interesting. Read the entire book in two sittings. Will be recommending to my friends.

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