American Dirt by Jeanine Cumins is an important book for our times. Yes, the book has been likened to the modern day version of The Grapes of Wrath. I’ve read those reviews and sometimes the expectations can be high. Below is my podcast audio of this review.
I can’t recall what my expectations were but American Dirt is about the plight of the migrants. Lydia, the central character’s, journey of escape from Acupolco with her young son Luka is detailed well. What’s it like to fight for survival under incredulous odds? American Dirt shows the tenacity and struggles of the human spirit during their most trying and desperate times. It is a book about love, sacrifice and rising above it all. There were uplifting moments of human triumph and there were many times throughout American Dirt where, I felt shocked and grieved and got tearful. The reality depicted so clearly will touch your core.
The book was eye opening for me. I think I always knew the truth but somewhere maybe I was in denial or maybe I didn’t know the extent. And if the story was not enough, the author’s note at the end, hits the points home. Her research and her numbers. Is that right? Disturbing and sad.
I know my podcasts are mostly fun and frivolous but how can one be that when the book deserves more. I considered doing a one line podcast episode. It would say, “Just read it”, but then I thought I needed to formulate my thoughts and somehow convince you to read about Lydia’s life and journey. Words fail me. How can I make you read this book? How? Well, telling you to read it is my only way. Before I tell you to read and sign off from this episode, I want to say this book is a solid 5 stars for me. Go read it. Click here for a review of Ikigai, the Japanese principle for living a life of purpose.
When I think of this book, I think I want to pray, so I’ll end with this prayer I found on google. I want to call it Lydia’s prayer for if her central character got down on her knees and couldn’t find the words, I would like to give this to her. Dear God, please give me strength when I am weak, love when I feel forsaken, courage when I am afraid, wisdom when I feel foolish, comfort when I am alone, hope when I feel rejected, and peace when I am in turmoil. Amen.