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Sometimes It's Okay to Judge a Book By Its Cover

I am a total sucker for covers. Yes, I am that person who actually does judge a book by its cover so shoot me. I know it’s terrible but I can’t resist a gorgeous cover and this book got me just from the deep blue colored birds that grace the cover, the most gorgeous shade of Azul that reminds you of the sea, the sky, and the beauty in this world. I had been reading about the January release of this book for months so the cover just made it that much more alluring.


American Dirt may be the most anticipated book of 2020. A magnificent and heartbreaking story about a 32-year-old woman named Lydia who owns a bookstore in Acapulco. She has a husband, Sebastián, and an 8-year old son named Luca who is her heart and soul. Lydia is an educated woman who is a lover of literature. She is passionate about what she reads and soon has a customer who is as passionate about books and poetry as she is. His name is Javier Crespo Fuentes and he stops in at least once or twice a week to break up the monotony of her day-to-day work life.


Sebastián is a journalist who writes about the cartels in Acapulco. The cartels in the book and in the real world have taken over much of the country and have induced fear in people like no other. She soon comes to find, that the man she has befriended in her store is the head of the largest and most powerful cartel in Mexico, Los Jardineros. She can’t believe that this educated man, who discusses poetry and literature over a cup of coffee with her each week could be the boss of a gruesome cartel. It doesn’t seem possible to Lydia that this man who regularly showers her with gifts and tokens of his appreciation for their friendship could be El Jefe.


Her husband is about to release an expose about Javier otherwise known as La Lechuza, “The Owl”. Sebastián asks Lydia to read the article and she actually believes that Javier will approve of the colorful story about him. But soon after the release of the article, a terrible tragedy occurs and Lydia and Luca are forced to flee their home.


Without giving too much away, I will tell you that the rest of the book focuses on Lydia doing everything in her power to escape Mexico with her son. Along the way, Lydia will hear the stories of people that are as bad if not worse than her own. What she finds is that all of these people are escaping something horrible to go on to a better place, a place that they believe will change everything; America.


While this story is heartbreaking, I was so moved by the story of a mother’s love for her child and what she does to protect him and keep him safe. For all of you readers who are mothers, you will relate to Lydia in this way. You will feel her emotions running through you and you will find your heart beating so rapidly as she makes her way through Mexico. I found myself flipping back and forth to the map of Mexico in the front of the book at least a hundred times to see how much further they had in their journey as if it were my own. What is most beautiful about this story is the kindness of strangers and the people they meet along the way who have nothing themselves but want to help them. It makes you believe in the greatness of humanity.


I found myself sobbing at the end of this incredible story and yet my heartbreak now lies in the fact that I am finished with the book. How can I possibly read anything as powerful as this?


Lydia’s story while fictional, is the story of a journey that more than 400,000 people make each year. Most of them escaping a life that is completely incomprehensible to you and me.


Readers, this is a book that is not to be missed. It will certainly be hard to miss now that Oprah has announced it for her book club pick (LOL). It is a book that truly lives up to its cover. Enjoy it, I promise, you will not be able to put it down. And for a fleeting moment, but hopefully longer, it will change your life and how you view the world.


ESTE LADO HAY SUENOS

On this side, too, there are dreams. (Cummins 383)


American Dirt

Jeanine Cummins

Publication Date: January 21, 2020

Flatiron Books

*****


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