Oprah to address controversy over her book club pick, ‘American Dirt’

I am not very familiar with author Jeanine Cummins work. I haven’t read anything by her and if I was asked to name a title off the top of my head before, I couldn’t. I can now, though, because her latest book, American Dirt, became famous and then infamous in the blink of an eye. Cummins is an American author. Although she was born in Spain, she was raised in Maryland. She identifies as both white and Latinix because she has some Puerto Rican heritage. American Dirt is about a Mexican immigrant named Lydia who flees Mexico for the US with her young son in an attempt to escape the drug cartel that murdered her family members at a quinceañera, including her husband. Advance praise for the book included Stephen King, Sandra Cisneros, John Grisham, Ann Patchett and Julia Alvarez. And then it grabbed the Gold Ring – Oprah picked it for her Book Club selection, calling it, “a heart-wrenching page-turner, and you won’t be able to put it down.”

Of writing the book, Cummins said, “I wished someone slightly browner than me would write it,” and, apparently, many agreed. Almost as soon as people began praising the book, members of the Latinix community, including many authors and poets, condemned the book for gross stereotypes, and misapplication and misuse of Spanish words. The controversy grew so big, bookstores are cancelling book signings while others are suggesting other books people should read instead. Buzzfeed did a great breakdown of the whole situation. As the controversy grew, a lot of people wanted to know what Oprah was going to do about it. She finally answered, saying she was going forward with it, but the conversation was going to be much different as a result of what she’s learned.

What Oprah said is:

“There’s been a lot of talk about this book, lately, and I just wanted you all to hear, directly from me, that I read an advance copy of ‘American Dirt’ last summer, before it even was an official book and it was a visceral experience for me — a migrant story being told from a mother’s perspective about the lengths that she would go to to protect her child to get to freedom in America. I was deeply moved. It had me riveted from the very first sentence, and I could hardly wait, really, to share it with all of you.

Now, it has become clear to me, from the outpouring — may I say — of very passionate opinions, that this selection has struck an emotional chord and created a need for a deeper, more substantive discussion. So, when I first started to hear your comments opposing the selection, I was asking the question in earnest, “What is offensive?” I’ve spent the past few days listening to members of the Latinx community to get a greater understanding of their concerns, and I hear them. I do.

So what I want to do, is bring people together, from all sides, to talk about this book and who gets to publish what stories. And I’m hoping that that is going to resonate with many of you and you concerns. And, this is going to stream on Apple TV+ in March and I think it’s going to allow us to open up the conversation in unexpected and, I really hope meaningful ways

As I said, I have not read the book and I am not a member of the Latinix community. Given what I know of the controversy, I think this is a good response to it. Esmeralda Bermudez of the LA Times criticized the book because, “this book was not written for people like me, for immigrants. It was written for everyone else — to enchant them, take them on a wild border-crossing ride, make them feel all fuzzy inside about the immigrant plight.” I don’t doubt that there are several books that fall under “this wasn’t written for the people it’s about” category so taking that conversation to an Oprah level platform will shed much needed light on it. The NYTimes hopes this will open a larger discussion on how broken the publishing industry is in how they promote new books. So I appreciate that instead of pulling the book, Oprah changed the discussion, allowing the concerns of the Latinix community to be truly heard.

It’s also a better response than Salma Hayek’s who had to apologize for praising the book without having read it.

I hadn’t intended to read the book because of the controversy but I’ll admit, I am extremely tempted to see what all the yelling is about. Those are huge names supporting the narrative and they all speak of the story in such glowing terms, I want to know if the writing is really that good. I also do not want to take anything away from the very valid and important issue that has been raised surrounding this author and book. The Writing my Latino Novel meme that this book has spawned is an absolute riot though.

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64 Responses to “Oprah to address controversy over her book club pick, ‘American Dirt’”

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  1. JanetDR says:

    The one thing I know about reading an Oprah book club book is that I will be depressed for days. So I don’t.

    • BellaBella says:

      One of John Sayles’s first novels, Los Gusanos, takes place in Cuba with Cuban characters. A more recent novel takes place in the Philippines, and yet another has Native American characters. Yet I don’t see him getting trashed like this woman has. I think this whole “controversy” is bs.

  2. Lala11_7 says:

    This is just blowback from the permanent putrid power infrastructure of racism….simple as that…HOWEVER…with the horrific actions of the inhumane government that currently represents us regarding Latinos…and the HUGE backlash of cultural appropriation that’s now so loud in the public realm….I am SHOCKED that Oprah didn’t have the common sense to NOT GO THERE WITH THIS BOOK…

    • Mousy says:

      Right?? There are sooo many less voyeristic books out there that talk about the migrant experience and a lot of people from the latinx community say this book is garbage sooo idk. Im wondering if Oprah has a deal with the publishing company or something? This popularity doesnt seem organic at all and very celeb (who may have not even read the book) driven.

    • HK9 says:

      Maybe, this will be one of her life lessons.

    • M says:

      There was recently a Trevor Noah Between The Scenes thing with Oprah where they talk about how her life has been so absolutely not normal (in terms of being incredibly wealthy) for so long. She mentions how not only does she never run out of toilet paper in the bathroom, someone comes through and cleans after every single use and folds the top square into that little hotel bathroom triangle thing, for example.

      A lot of the criticism about the book is that it has a really deep naivete about the issues it’s discussing… the main character is bizarrely bewildered by realities that she should understand, the world painted is anachronistic at times because it was based off of other literature and some of it older, etc. From what I understand people are saying that the character is meant to be an educated Mexican woman whose life is very intertwined into politics of the region, but she reacts to everything like a confused American.

      So basically… not surprised that as someone very rich for a long time, Oprah didn’t initially pick up on the problems with the book. And not surprised that as a black woman, once people pointed it out, she understood what they were saying about the problems of having a narrative about an experience told by someone who doesn’t understand that experience.

  3. C-Shell says:

    I don’t know if this link will post, but possibly the best review and analysis of “American Dirt” I’ve read in the past few weeks is by Myriam Gurba on Tropics of Meta dot com, “Pendeja, You Ain’t Steinbeck: My Bronca With Fake-Ass Social Justice Literature.”
    https://tropicsofmeta.com/2019/12/12/pendeja-you-aint-steinbeck-my-bronca-with-fake-ass-social-justice-literature/

    • Jerusha says:

      That was a hilariously savage takedown. Thanks for the link.

    • Bookie says:

      Lainey linked to it last week – one of the best reviews of all time! It is well worth the read to understand the controversy surrounding this book.

    • tempest prognosticator says:

      Oh, that review was brilliant!

    • Jamie says:

      Yes! i came here to see if anyone had mentioned this review. She’s brilliant!

    • Annabel says:

      I LOVE that takedown. Thank you for posting that! I also really liked David Schmidt’s piece:

      https://thebluenib.com/a-poor-imitation-american-dirt-and-misrepresentations-of-mexico/

      I think his first paragraph very elegantly sums up the problem here:
      “I do an excellent imitation of a British accent—as long as you don’t ask anyone who is British. Americans, Aussies and Canadians all find it convincing, but anyone from the U.K. can immediately identify it as an extremely poor imitation of their voice, useful only for its entertainment value.”

      • C-Shell says:

        I really enjoyed Schmidt’s piece! LOLed at “ One should imagine the husky voice of Antonio Banderas, speaking at his most sensual and Spanishy. Any character he has played in English will do, although it is clear that Javier was ideally written for the voice of Puss in Boots.”

    • Lucy says:

      That Steinbeck review is *chef kiss*.
      Also, I laughed for 5 straight minutes about the Yolanda Saldivar joke, almost makes me want to open Twitter again someday.

    • Renee says:

      That review was everything!

  4. Momof2rats says:

    Oh boy, now we are cancelling books? Really? As an avid reader this horrifies me. So as a heterosexual female I can’t write a fiction novel about a transgender male or gay female? Wow.

    This whole special snowflake-you hurt my feelings-cultural appropriation-cancel free speech has not only gone too far, it has traveled to another galaxy.

    Sigh. Grow up people.

    • Mia4s says:

      Oh yeah sure, because clearly the author has been dragged into the town square and shot. She clearly has not made thousands and thousands of dollars. She certainly didn’t make thousands more selling the movie rights. May we all be so cancelled. 🙄🙄

      Freedom of speech and expression is not freedom from consequences. She wrote her book misusing Spanish words, misusing cultural references, and essentially creating Brown-people-suffering porn to make sheltered fools feel “woke”. It’s a common genre, but now POC have a voice to speak on the problems with it.

      So go ahead and write your trans-woman book cis lady…but if it’s full of stupid misuses of language and culture expect to be called out. Don’t like it? Grow up I guess?

    • LP says:

      “So I can’t write about a transgender male or gay female now?” You’d for sure f*ck it up, so….yes!

      • Momof2rats says:

        LP, I would mess up any book I wrote, I am not a writer. But I have read hundreds of horrible popular books out there. Do I cancel the authors? No, I just don’t read their other books. Writing fiction is an art form, you should be able to express yourself however you wish. Even sound stupid if you want. If you sell your idiotic book (Shades of Gray) and make millions, good for you!

        I hope Oprah doesn’t cave. This whole argument is so ridiculous. Now I want to read this book just to see why it is so controversial. I speak Spanish so hopefully my eyes won’t explode when I see it misused. My father is an immigrant so I hope my brain doesn’t explode if this story does not follow his story. Ha ha!!

      • LP says:

        You’re totally right, my bad! Everyone should love, accept, and purchase all forms of art, always and forever, lest someone’s fee fees be hurt :’( If people’s writing is ever criticized they might just….poof! Disappear! It happened to a friend of mine, I swear!!!!!

      • Mia4s says:

        “ Now I want to read this book just to see why it is so controversial.”

        But @Momof2rats you just told us in your first comment that we had cancelled the book. So since the author has been put in the electric chair and all copies of the books burned you can’t read it…oh wait, yes you can. So what’s the problem? Is it that someone might have the nerve to tell you it’s a bad thing to support? Oh, dear such hardship.

    • Rivka says:

      Even though Cummins writes fiction, she needs to be held accountable for her work because it reproduces harmful stereotypes about Latinx immigrants. To me, the plot sounds straight out from a cheap telenovela. No depth, just reduced caricatures that depict how Americans view Mexico-LatAm. An author doesn’t have to be Latinx to write about Latinx stories, but they need to get their research right. From the barbed wire depicted on the book’s cover to Cummins’ unfortunate statements, it seems that she didn’t do her homework.

      • Mac says:

        The plot sounds incredibly realistic to me. Read the stories of asylum seekers fleeing gang violence in Central America and the horrific choices and brutality they face along the migrant trail and at the border.

      • WTW says:

        @Mac, To Mexicans and Mexican Americans, the plot did not sound realistic. Why do you have a problem listening to them? Are you of Mexican origin? They have pointed out that a middle-class Mexican, like the protagonist in American Dirt, would never take La Bestia, the notorious migrant train, to get to the US. Middle-class Mexicans would simply fly or take a bus into the US, Canada, or elsewhere. They have also pointed out how inaccurate it was for Cummins to describe La Bestia as a safe haven when it is known for being riddled with gangs or having her protagonist be too clueless to realize that the man she was flirting with was the head of a drug cartel. There are many more inaccuracies that have been pointed out. These are just a few.

      • Mia4s says:

        @Mac they are not saying a plot about the horror asylum seekers face is “not realistic”. That’s not it. It’s not nearly so simple. Please PLEASE actually read what POC have said about the book. Listen to them. Not the white-woman-Twitter victimhood interpretation. And yes we should read the actual accounts of migrants. The actual ones. Yes absolutely. That’s a great idea.

    • ab says:

      The issue isn’t that she wrote the book, anyone can write a book about whatever subject they want from whatever perspective they want. The problem is that this book is being pushed as some “great american novel” style definitive book on the migrant experience when it seems from reviews to be more akin to a trashy, melodramatic thriller you would read on a beach vacation (I haven’t read it). It wouldn’t be getting any notice if it hadn’t been anointed the chosen one by the publishing industry — seemingly without any input from the Latinx community. The NY TImes article Hecate linked in the post is a great read on this behind the scenes stuff.

    • WTW says:

      @Momof2rats, this post had some inaccuracies, so, no, no one is canceling the book. For one, only one bookstore canceled a Cummins appearance, and that’s because they wanted to host a panel discussion between her and some Latinx activists, and they said the pre-discussion got nasty so quickly they didn’t think they could properly facilitate the event. That was in St. Louis. Cummins was supposed to then give readings in Southern California, and her publisher canceled those appearances in what looks like a bid to avoid the very brown population who lives in the San Diego and LA areas. Cummins had no problem speaking to mostly white audiences in NYC, DC, and Nashville.

      Also, I don’t think it tells the true story to mention that Cummins was born in Spain and has some Puerto Rican heritage. Cummins was supposedly born on a military base in Spain and she has a sole Puerto Rican grandparent. Up until a few years ago, she IDed as white. It wasn’t until the book rollout that she started IDing as Latinx. That said, the activists opposed to this book have never said that a white person can’t write about Mexico. They have criticized Cummins for a number of inaccuracies about the Mexican migrant experience and for lifting heavily from Latinx authors like Luis Alberto Urrea, who never received a seven-figure book advance and the publicity that she did for American Dirt.

    • Minal says:

      Momof2rats, listen to what people are saying here. Yes, anyone can write what they want. But why do some people, even if they write a shitty novel on a topic they clearly know very little about, get 7 figure advances, whereas the ones who know the culture well and write realistically get ignored? This is the ONLY issue here. Cummins had an oped in the NYT a few years ago where she wrote that she would not be comfortable writing about race as she’s white. Yet, a few years later she becomes the face of the Great Brown Novel? Meanwhile, so many talented latinx writers get nowhere near this level of attention. Yes, writing about another culture is an exercise in writerly empathy, and if the writer falls short it’s one thing. But to be handsomely rewarded for it is another altogether. It doesn’t sit right. Or to put it another way, what if I, an immigrant WOC exercised my writerly empathy and wrote a novel about a working class white male in the midst of an opioid epidemic, and I got a million dollar advance while all the white males were never given an opportunity to tell their own story on their own terms ? (Hahah that’s a good one.) I will end by saying that sometimes we minorities don’t acknowledge our own biases against other minority communities in the US/ Canada. Would Oprah have elevated the cringeworthy novel, The Help, for example? I think not. And of course, there’s plenty of bigotry from the Latinx community towards the AA community as well. I just wish we would all THINK before we act. That would be the real exercise in empathy.

      • WTW says:

        @Minal, Oprah selected The Help as a favorite book on her website. Also, why does my comment about anti-black sentiment in the Latinx community keep getting deleted? It is a real problem and led to a federal investigation in Los Angeles. Moreover, Afro Latinos like Amara La Negra have discussed the discrimination she’s faced at great length. It is relevant to this discussion since people keep suggesting that Oprah is somehow anti-Latinx, when Latinx authors endorsed this book as well. I think Oprah is ignorant but not necessarily biased. The fact that she like The Help shows that she’s not the most socially enlightened person.

      • Minal says:

        @WTW you can see a complete list of all of Oprah’s book club books here: https://www.oprahmag.com/entertainment/books/g23067476/oprah-book-club-list/?slide=82 and The Help is not on there. I didn’t mean to suggest Oprah is actively anti-Latinx, but that all of us, white or minority, operate with unconscious biases that we would do well to examine. And while white folk are called out on it a lot, I would like to see the rest of us do a little introspection as well. Which it looks like Oprah is doing, so good.

      • WTW says:

        @Minal, this site kept deleting my comments. Originally, I linked to an article from the Telegraph about The Help controversy showing that Oprah had listed it as a favorite book on her website. Do a search for Oprah and The Help, and you will find it. I didn’t say it was an official Oprah’s book club, but that it was listed as a favorite book. It is quite on brand for Oprah to like such a book. I had also argued that Oprah is not a Mexican migrant, so she wouldn’t have known about the inaccuracies with American Dirt. Biases and ignorance aren’t the same, but now that Oprah has been told the novel is problematic, she should be held accountable if she doesn’t take action. I had also pointed out that Latinx authors like Sandra Cisneros endorsed the book. Cisneros, is of Mexican origin, but she’s not a Mexican migrant, and therefore, did not know about the inaccuracies either. Cisneros was born and raised in Chicago.

      • Nan says:

        The power lies in speaking out AND not buying the book. Publishers don’t want to pay huge advances for books that bomb, so if we really want to discourage books of cultural appropriation, speak out but also do not buy them!

    • lucy2 says:

      I think it’s certainly possible to write from the perspective of someone very different from you, but I think it has to be done carefully and with a ton of research, especially when that perspective is from someone who is marginalized by society in a way that you can never truly experience. Their perspective is already so underrepresented in mainstream media and art, I can imagine it’s very frustrating to see it done in a way that doesn’t ring true.

      So yes, you can write whatever you want, but if you don’t do it thoughtfully, those you are representing can and should call you out for it.

      American Dirt is #1 on amazon right now, so clearly it hasn’t been cancelled.
      And why is it so wrong or difficult to consider others feelings, and not appropriate their culture? Why would your feelings about it be more valid than theirs?

    • Annabel says:

      @Momof2rats First, a bit of housekeeping: “fiction novel” is redundant. A novel is by definition a work of fiction.

      As a white female writer, I often write characters who aren’t exactly like me. But since I’ve never been to Mexico and don’t speak Spanish, I sure as hell wouldn’t write a story set in Mexico, among Mexicans, without committing myself to the kind of deep research that the author of American Dirt very obviously couldn’t be bothered to do, whatever she says to the contrary.

      If an author comes under fire for writing a book full of offensive stereotypes, inaccuracies, and absurd plot problems, that isn’t censorship by the radical left or whatever. That’s freedom of speech. You can write whatever you want, but people are allowed to react to it.

    • Lady Luna says:

      Scarlett is that you?

    • Athena says:

      @momof2rats

      That’s great you’re an avid reader! I can’t imagine any humans wanting to interact w/a personality like yours, plus books can’t run away, so it’s the perfect match.

      I do feel sorry for your two rats tho. I’d recommend getting out of the comments & into therapy. Or maybe just log off & yell at yourself in the mirror?

    • kerwood says:

      @Momof2rats, why make this about you? I understand why but it isn’t about you and what you have the ‘right’ to do.

      This woman wrote a novel about people she knows nothing about and apparently didn’t even bother to research the subject she’s writing about. Four years ago she wrote an op-ed, when talk about so-called ‘cultural appropriation’ was at it’s height, she wrote a NY Times op-ed stating that she couldn’t write about people of colour because she was WHITE. Yet, now she claims to be Latina. Why should get respect when she shows so little to the people she’s writing about?

    • Jaded says:

      @Momof2rats: I lived in Mexico for years. I speak Spanish. I have Mexican friends. Even I, a 67 year-old white Canadian living in BC, can see why this book is galling to Mexicans and Latino culture. It demonizes and reduces a whole race of people to nothing more than one-dimensional cartoon characters. She throws in a bit of incorrectly used Spanglish to give it “authenticity”. It’s cheap cultural pandering to Trump-loving whites and that is why the author is getting so much well-deserved blow-back.

    • Original Jenns says:

      You do realize no one is “cancelling” the book for bad writing. The author is being rightly Sh+t on for using a Latino culture/demographic/experience for her own pat on the back. She’s claimed whiteness right up until it was time to use her one Puerto Rican grandma to justify why her lack of knowledge qualified her to write someone else’s story. Very very poorly. I’m guessing you feel attacked because you are a white woke woman who enjoys putting up signs saying children should not be in cages and assuming all of Mexico is like Sicario. Please, think of the real people who’s lives are affected by stereotyping and stolen voices in this country before you worry about people like you who are missing out on playing savior.

  5. Jessica says:

    I’ve read up on Oprah and the more I read, the less I value her or even like her. She’s friends with some not friendly people and has some dark secrets in her closet. I hate to say it, but I’m canceling Oprah.

    • Ali says:

      First she backs out of the music industry documentary and now she’s endorsing this book. The whole when you know better, you do better thing? By now, Oprah really should know better and do better.

    • LindaS says:

      I cancelled Oprah a long time ago. Why people just follow and adore her and believe everything she says and follow all advice she gives is totally beyond belief.

    • wtf says:

      Please post links. I understand that she’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I hadn’t heard about any dark secrets or shady dealings.

      (I’m not counting pulling out of the documentary. As far as I am concerned, as long as she made it clear that she believes Russell Simmons raped those women, I really don’t care about her differences with the filmmakers)

  6. Rapunzel says:

    Just wanna say, for a great book on the immigrant, border crossing experience, read Victor Villasenor’s Macho. Great read.

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Part of writing anything, IMO most crucial, is research. Lots and lots and lots and lots of research. I was willing to give this chica a pass if it was some retelling of a harrowing experience she endured. Nope. Then I read a few excerpts. And I also read C-Shell’s link above (which is spectacular btw). As a gringo born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley (my house was five minutes from the border bridge), this piece of “work” is a piece of caca. And the fact that she even says she wishes brown people would’ve written it is vom-inducing. Brown people. Does she mean whities who easily tan? God. What a clusterf@ck. What she did is cement stupid, intellectually bankrupt, obtuse and out of touch swaths of white Americans. Gah. SMDFH.

  8. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Cummins didn’t even identify as Latinx until she the wanted to write a book about the Mexican experience. In 2015 she wrote an op-ed in the NYT stating, “I really dont want to write about race. I’m white. I’ll never know the impotent rage of being profiled or encounter institutionalized hurdles to success because of my skin or hair or name” Co-opting of a culture and identity to lend credibility to crappy work deserves to be called out.

  9. Lady Luna says:

    As a Mexican immigrant I don’t think I’ll be reading this book, there are so many amazing Mexican writers who’ve actually experienced this and their books are not being picked because of reasons (cough racism). It’s not enough that we’re being ignored in Hollywood, now we’re being ignored in the publishing industry. But we’re snowflakes because we dare to speak up?

    • Lapatita19@yahoo.com says:

      I never post on her, but I read your comment and I agree. I won’t read this book. There are so many Mexican writers overlooked I’m the publishing industry. It is hard for a Latino to get published. It just seems wrong that someone that knows nothing about us can get published, but our gente can’t.

  10. Mumbles says:

    Lol I didn’t know that Salma Hayek praised the book without reading it. Classic. Still remember how she lectured Jessica Williams about intersectional feminism and dismissed Jessica’s valid criticisms.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      Oh, I remember. And it’s why she will forever get side eye from me. She has zero credibility in my book when it comes to race and issues on equality. People forget that Salma grew up wealthy. Her experience as a Mexican is VERY different from most others and I wish she would beg called out on it more often. She’s an elitist.

    • lucy2 says:

      That made me really mad too, and I haven’t forgotten it either. She was very dismissive, and rude, to Jessica.
      It’s also lousy to publicly praise something you haven’t read, and I’m kinda glad she had to publicly admit that and walk it back.

  11. kerwood says:

    Five years ago, this book would have been about African-Americans, maybe slaves. Mexicans are a ‘trendy’ topic for White women with literary aspirations, just like Black folks were (see: ‘The Help’).

    I’d say ‘Shame on Oprah’, but Oprah has shown she’s without shame for years. It’s interesting that the people who put her on her pedestal, are now pulling her down.

  12. H says:

    What a lot of people don’t realize is the American Dirt controversy is piggybacking on the RWA controversy from December. The publishing world has a horrible reputation of pushing cis white women writers, like Cummins, over authors of color. The Romance Writers of America imploded over a lack of diversity within its ranks and Cummins’ comes across as tone deaf within that context. I’m side-eyeing Oprah for this pick.

    • wtf says:

      I read about this! It was fascinating.

      • H says:

        @wtf, it was a sh*tshow of tone deafness from the RWA. So happy I never renewed my membership.

      • C-Shell says:

        And *continues* to be a sh!tshow. I’m not much of a joiner, so never saw the upside of RWA membership … it doesn’t offer much of anything to self-published writers, which I am, but I went down the #RWAshitshow rabbit hole on 12/23 and haven’t come out yet! Something good. I’ve learned so much about what marginalized writers have experienced, not just in the RWA but in publishing more broadly, and made me so aware of representation in my writing as well as my reading. Cummings deserves all the hellfire raining on her.

  13. Faye G says:

    I will not read this book, as I have several family members who have already had terrible migrant experiences from Central America. My stepcousins Husband was shot by gang members right in front of her and her children, they had to flee to here to the US and suffer inhumane treatment at the hands of the border patrol. I don’t need to read a book by a white woman filled with untrue stereotypes to know the trauma they suffered. People should read actual Latin Authors, such as Luis Urrea, to get the real picture of the immigrant experience.

  14. Catherine says:

    I read the book, it is beautifully written and executed and EDUCATIONAL especially for people who want to build a wall, who think their are roaming dangerous gangs headed towards our boarders. It’s a timely, riveting piece of fiction. For people who have lived through this nightmare, I’m sure the book came off soft. I found it terrifying and enlightening and reinforced my empathy for those trying to escape a horrendous civil war (that’s what it is). I highly recommend it.

  15. CK says:

    One of the most telling things about this book to me was a picture from a book release party that featured barbwire centerpieces.

    Get ready for the Latinx “Green Book” because you know the Academy is going to eat this up, unless the movie comes out the year that “Hillbilly Elegy” does.