If you are having difficulty navigating this website please contact us at member.services@bookofthemonth.com or 1-877-236-8540.

Get your first hardcover or audiobook for just $5.

Join now.
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Contemporary fiction

American Dirt

Oprah's Book Club

We're proud to feature Oprah's Book Club pick.

by Jeanine Cummins

Quick take

This month, we're partnering with Oprah to offer her most recent Book Club pick to our members.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Sad


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_GraphicViolence

    Graphic violence

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Serious



Lydia Quixano Pérez 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. 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 are her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of a drug cartel that has taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee to beyond Javier's reach, Lydia and her eight-year-old son Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. As they join the countless people trying to reach the United States, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

Read less

Content warning

Recently, there has been controversy and discussion on social media and in the press regarding this book, the way it has been marketed, its characterizations of Mexican immigrants, its author’s identity, and issues of cultural appropriation. Because of this, we wanted to share with you our thoughts about why it is one of our selections this month.

Our thinking around this book – both as a work of literature and as a political call to action – has evolved as the conversation around it has unfolded. When we first read the book, we thought it was an eye-opening and emotional depiction of one of the most important issues of our time. But in recent weeks, the perspectives that have been voiced have led us to engage more deeply with its limitations – especially given our current political climate.

Some of our members have expressed disappointment that we selected this book and have told us that we missed the mark by featuring it. Over the past week, our team has debated whether or not we should pull American Dirt from our site. While thoughtful people have raised important and valid criticisms of this book, we think it is more productive to encourage conversations around these issues than to sweep them under the rug. Ultimately, we believe that it is more honest to let you decide for yourself whether or not you would like to read this book than make that decision for you.

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of American Dirt.

Member ratings (11,074)

  • Amanda M.

    Waynesboro, PA

    Not an easy read by any means, but it’s important. It’s very tense from the first page & it doesn’t let up for the remainder of the book. Dark & heavy, and disturbing at times, but I’d still recommend

  • Kelley M.

    King, NC

    “Loved” isn’t quite the right word due to the heartwrenching subject matter. But it is a powerfully written story, humanizing immigrants and refugees. Aren’t books meant to illuminate new perspectives

  • Nancy R.

    Menomonee Falls, WI

    I have read the controversies around this book, but I loved it. I fully realize that it is a fictionalized account of migration, but I respect the research and personal experiences of the author! ????????????

  • Holly H.

    Ashland, OH

    This book isn’t pleasant and yet it’s a book so many people need to read to see things from another perspective. It’s gritty, ugly and violent, but it’s also a story of determination, love, and hope.

  • Raidyn V.

    Fort Hood , TX

    I couldn’t put it down. I was angry every night that I had to put it down to get some rest. I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I wasn’t reading. A book has never done that to me before. I loved it