This month we read American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins which has had much controversy this year resulting in lots of literary conversation. This was originally an Oprah book club because of its face-paced, traumatic story line. If you read American Dirt, take a peek at some of the discussion questions. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments and use these with your own book club.
American Dirt Discussion Questions
- Were you aware of the controversy around this book and the publicity it had before reading it? How did this effect
- The beginning is a horrific scene with the Cartel where the main character Lydia loses sixteen family members. Did this engage you as a reader? Why or why not?
- The author, cleverly wove in Luca’s amazing knowledge of geography including knowing so much about the United States that tourists pay him to tell about areas of the world. More than once this knowledge helps him and his mother on their journey. What were all the times that this skill helped him? How would things have been different without this knowledge?
- What was Javier’s role in the book? Was it coincidence that they met in the book store that day?
- Lydia faced challenge after challenge to protect herself and her son. There were many times it didn’t look like she’d make it. How did you feel about the resolution to the story?
- Part of the controversy of American Dirt was that author Jeanine Cummins is not Mexican, but wrote a book that takes place in Mexico. She researched the topic and made trips to Mexico to make her writing more accurate, but many feel she fell short according to this Washington Post article. In the article it quotes her stating “I really don’t want to write about race…I’m terrified of striking the wrong chord, of being vulnerable, of uncovering shameful ignorance in my psyche. I’m afraid of being misinterpreted.” What are your thoughts about her statement?
Thanks to those that joined us in November on this collective read. Please share your thoughts in the comments. This is an ongoing, open discussion thread.
For December, 365 Days of New is reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. This book is a fictional story set in the 70’s after Ernt Allbright returns from the Vietnam War. Changed from the experience, he wants a fresh start. He abruptly packs up his family’s belongs with his wife and 13 year old daughter, and they move to Alaska to try to survive their first winter off gird.
Check out all of 365 Days of New’s 2020 book club choices here.