Galaxy of Thoughts

Mental journies shuttling between utopia, dystopia and bordering paranoia.

19 Jun 2020

American Dirt - Jeanine Cummins


The thought that you can be an immigrant or refugee in a different country never crosses anybody mind. Security privilege you have to be in a country that is peaceful no violence or threat to life be it from wars or natural disasters, is a precious gift.

We never think about this things, until bam it hits you hard out of no where. This is the fate that has befallen many people from different parts of the world. Be it centuries ago or the present time.

People have been forced to move from places they have called home. From the comfort, the peace that comes with familiarity is snatched away by other forces beyond your control.

Reading through this, got me deep into emotions and distraught feelings as I moved with the characters in the book.

Setting is Mexico in the historical city of Acapulco. Lydia’s family has been living here since she was young, now she is married to Sebastian and they are living there as well. Lydia rans a bookshop and the husband is a controversial journalist. He has started writing criticizing articles about the cartels that are making the city unlivable any more.

Most of the population is already moving out. The rampant violence is becoming more intense and more macabre, beheading and outright display of the worst.

Lydia becomes friends with one of her customers and develops a strong friendship. Only for her to find out one day that he is a jefe leader of the current cartel that is terrorizing the city and taking it. Sebastian is doing his research on him and he is preparing to write an article about the cartel’s jefe.

When the article is published things spiral south. Leading to the murder of 16 of Lydia’s family members including Sebastian. She now has to run with his son, escape this place before they have a similar fate. They know there only hope is to head el norte.

They will have to move from one place to another and join the immigrants coming from central American countries Honduras, Guatemala etc. They are plucked from the realities of what was their former self.

They now have to use le bestia train, the thing is it is not a passenger train but a cargo train. They have to use the top of the trailer compartments. Truly life has changed.

The roller coaster has started, we get to join the two through their daunting experience. Heart wrenching, emotional and teary experience. They get to hear of the various stories the other immigrants have what they are running from or escaping.

Highly recommend this read. Interestingly it brings memories of what I had read on ‘City of saints and sinners’ where their are refugees and cross from DRC to the country of Sangui.