Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they'll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy-two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia's husbands tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia-trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier's reach doesn't extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
American Dirt will leave listeners utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity. It is one of the most important books for our times. Already being hailed as a Grapes of Wrath for our times and a new American classic, Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.
Although born in Rota, Spain, author, Jeanine Cummins was born to American parents, as her Dad was stationed in Spain with the US Navy. She grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland where she graduated from Towson State in English and Communications. After graduation, Cummin's travels took her to Belfast, Northern Ireland where she worked as a bartender. In 1997, she moved back to the United States to work at Penguin in New York City. It was after ten years of working for the publisher that she began her career as an author.
When Cummins was 16, there was an attempted murder of her brother, and an actual murder of her two cousins, which of course, was very traumatizing for the teenager. Her first book was about that horrendous memory. It is entitled A Rip in Heaven, for which she declined several offers to adapt the book to film.
Other works include, The Outside Boy, The Crooked Branch, and her latest, American Dirt. The book has been sold to Flatiron after a three-day bidding war which ended in Cummins receiving a seven-figure amount for American Dirt. It was on Oprah Winfrey's book list, but due to it's controversial subject matter, her planned book tour was cancelled, as Flatiron feared for her safety.
She considers herself white, but her grandmother was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where she says will be the setting of her next book. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.