Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
6:40 pm EDT
Monday, June 27, 2022

Book Club: American Dirt

By Jeanine Cummins. A story about the revenge taken on a journalist and her family after she writes about drug cartels in Acapulco, Mexico.

Lydia is married to Sebastian Peréz Delgado, a journalist who writes about the drug cartels in the very dangerous city of Acapulco, Mexico. Lydia owns a bookstore and one of her regular customers and a friend is Javier Crespo Fuentes. What she doesn’t know after spending months talking to Fuentes is that he is the drug kingpin known as La Lechuza, “The Owl,” who is head of Los Jardineros cartel. Lydia learns the truth about her friend when her husband writes an expose on Fuentes. 

Lydia’s niece is celebrating her quinceañera at a barbecue when three gunmen arrive and open fire on the party. Lydia’s husband, mother, sister, niece and twelve other family members are gunned down. Lydia is outside the bathroom door when the gunfire erupts. She knows her eight-year-old, son Luca is in the bathroom. She runs into the bathroom, shoves him into the shower stall, and covers him with her body. La Lechuza has taken his revenge, but it won’t be long before he realizes that Lydia and Luca are not among the dead. 

Lydia’s mind slowly begins to work again as she absorbs the shock. She knows La Lechuza will be coming for her and Luca. She knows they have to disappear, but Lydia can’t think of where to go. Then she decides they will live with her distant uncle in Denver. Lydia and Luca become migrants, and their incredible journey is fraught with inconceivable hardships. Not only are we terrified for Lydia and Luca but the other migrants that cross their path on their flights for freedom. 

Jeanine Cummins took four years to write this book. Although this is a work of fiction and there is no actual La Lechuza, or Los Jardineros cartel, it is representative of drug cartels. The statistics and locations are true. It is so well researched and well written that we feel we are migrants traveling with Lydia and Luca. We know Lydia and Luca represent the unique personal stories of the thousands of migrants whose tales we will never hear. This is a book that is nearly impossible to put down.  

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