At an author appearance and book signing, 2 days following the release of her highly publicized novel, Jeanine Cummins reacted to the controversy surrounding American Dirt. According to KC. Davis, a friend of mine who works at a local library and was in attendance, “the author was emotional and attempted to avoid any specific conflicts”. Here are KC’s thoughts after hearing the author speak.
“I had the opportunity to attend a local bookstore event last night with Jeanine Cummins as the guest. It was emotional as well as extremely insightful. She did extensive research in Mexico: interviewed those who risked their lives, worked in various establishment assisting migrants, spoke to agencies, etc… She heavily debated writing this book for 5 years because she wasn’t sure she was the “right” person to do so, but after the sudden death of her father, 3 months later she wrote the first line of the book. She wrote it out of passion, empathy, and her own grief.
The independent bookstore owner was fantastic, the group of 100+ were extremely supportive. Her husband and two young daughters accompanied her. The audience asked complicated questions and all the while she kept saying that she had no intention of misrepresenting, disrespecting, or dishonoring those who risked their lives or died attempting for a safer and better life. She wants there to be conversation, for the latino community, for people of color, for women of color, for immigrants, for those in danger, for humanity. She wrote a work of fiction with all the best intensions. She wrote for the reader, who at the end of the day, has the last word.
Drawing my own conclusion last night, she wrote a labor of love, determined to face the backlash as best as anyone can, and tell a fictional story such as this. She has my respect, as a writer, having the courage to tell this tale.”
New York Public Library Wait List for American Dirt
As you can see from the photo above, if you are reserving the book from the NYPL you won’t hear from them until 2026! If you feel more of an urgency and want to weigh in on American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins, you might choose to bite the bullet and purchase a copy! Hello book groups…so much to discuss!
Thanks to KC Davis for her observations, thoughts and photographs. She has been an employee at the Fairfield Woods Branch Library in CT for 13 years.