Chicana on the Edge Reviews ‘American Dirt’ by Jeanine Cummins (video)

Regina Rodríguez-Martin, aka blogger Chicana on the Edge, read and reviewed Jeanine Cummins American Dirt as a public service.

Her review starts like this:

Three weeks ago I got an email announcing a new book club for women over 50, and the first novel they were going to read was Jeanine Cummins’ American Dirt. The novel focuses on a Mexican woman’s journey from her home in Acapulco to the U.S, crossing without papers in extremely dangerous ways.

Then I read about the book’s big controversy. Latinos were angry about the red carpet treatment given to this book written by a white woman because Mexican Americans telling similar stories don’t get nearly as much attention from publishers. The most scathing review was written by Myriam Gurba (and I urge you to read it). I would usually pass on a book like this.

Why I decided to read it

1. I wanted to be part of the new book club’s discussion to make sure at least one Latina was there.

2. Sandra Cisneros, one of the most well-respected Mexican American writers ever, endorsed American Dirt and stands by it. On NPR’s Latino USA, she said it could reach an audience her books couldn’t. I wanted to see what she meant by that.

3. I decided that rather than critically dog-pile on this book without reading it, it would be fairer to read it first and then dog-pile.

4. Some of us Latinos have to watch what white people are writing about us. By reading this 441-page novel, I’m taking one for the team. But it’s not so bad because I read fast and have two degrees in literature (I almost did my dissertation on Mexican American women authors, but instead chose to flee academia).

You can read the full review here..

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