If you are a fan of books, you may have seen the hype everywhere about the brand new novel, American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins. I have not yet been able to read this novel, and in the past I have stated that I was excited to read it. However, after hearing a lot of voices against this novel, I have decided to hold off on reading this until I can procure a copy that will not put money in the hands of this author.
There are a number of Mexican & Latinx authors who have been able to give this novel an early review, and they have given it poor marks in terms of its authenticity to the immigrant experience and the country of Mexico. In addition, the writing appears to have just perpetuated racist stereotypes that a number of #OwnVoices writers have tried to break.
There are a lot more voices on this subject that are better suited to discuss this than me, so their links are here:
I can’t help but wonder if the hype around this book has been so huge because the publishers were afraid of this kind of blowback.
Additionally, Jeanine Cummins has not properly portrayed her heritage and in the pas has even claimed that she’s not the person to write this kind of story (It’s in this recent New York Times interview: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/13/books/jeanine-cummins-american-dirt.html). And she was paid seven figures to write about something she admits she shouldn’t be writing about — instead of someone who actually can speak from experience.
The most — upsetting? interesting? — thing here is that it was selected as an Oprah’s Book Club pick. I’m surprised that Oprah hasn’t addressed the controversy. I’m hoping she will.
Again, I haven’t read this book, and I am a white woman in my 30s, not a migrant from Mexico. I should’t be talking about this either. But I did want to bring up the controversy that is currently rocking the book world & encourage you to do your research.