Musin’ with Susan 4/14/20 – Time to Read

One thing we can all make time for during our shelter-in-place time is reading books!

I just read a MUST READ book by Jeanine Cummins, AMERICAN DIRT. It’s a fictitious story of the journey of a woman in Mexico who becomes an immigrant, and it is absolutely compelling. 

Here’s part of what Cummins says about why she wrote this particular book.

. . . . I think the world has enough stories like [violent, macho stories of gangsters and law enforcement]. . . . Those novels provide readers with an understanding of the origins of some of the violence to our south. But the depiction of that violence can feed into the worst stereotypes about Mexico. So I saw an opening for a novel that would press a little more intimately into those stories, to imagine the people on the flip side of that prevailing narrative. Regular people like me. How would I manage if I lived in a place that began to collapse around me? If my children were in danger, how far would I go to save them? I wanted to write about women, whose stories are often overlooked.

. . . . I was appalled at the way Latino migrants, even five years ago—and it has gotten exponentially worse since then—were characterized with that public discourse. At worst, we perceive them as an invading mob of resource-draining criminals, and, at best, a sort of helpless, impoverished, faceless brown mass, clamoring for help at our doorstep. We seldom think of them as our fellow human beings. People with the agency to make their own decisions, people who can contribute to their own bright futures, and to ours, as so many generations of oft-reviled immigrants have done before them.

. . . . So I hoped to present one of those unique personal stories—a work of fiction—as a way to honor the hundreds of thousands of stories we may never get to hear. And in so doing, I hope to create a pause where the reader may begin to individuate. When we see migrants on the news, we may remember: these people are people. pp. 380-382

Buy this book! You’ll be glad you did!