It is certainly true that this book has stirred up much controversy, much of it unwarranted, and has also resulted in physical threats being made against the author. In fact, the threats were such, that the publisher felt it necessary to cancel the book tour this author was about to embark upon. Both Jan and I find that totally appalling. If this tactic is not one of censorship, we don’t know what is and the journey the naysayers have vehemently embarked upon have made for a frightening situation for All authors. Never did we think that this state of affairs would ever rear its ugly head but it has and we are both incensed that a book that is a work of fiction is being treated in such a manner.
“That these people would leave their homes, their cultures, their families, even their languages, and venture into tremendous peril, risking their very lives, all for the chance to get to the dream of some faraway country that doesn’t even want them.”
Is this the definitive immigrant experience? I’m not naïve enough to think so. This is fiction. Were there clichés or negative stereotypes? Not that I could see. Instead, this book destroyed the stereotypes. As the author notes in her epilogue the people are not “faceless brown masses”, an often quoted phrase by the naysayers taken totally out of context – it’s an image the author says she tried (quite successfully) to dispel. The people crossing into our borders are individuals with backstories and unique reasons for coming here. The humanitarian concerns of our fellow human beings touched my heart all while delivering a page-turning thriller.
As Lydia and her young son, Luca, fled for their lives, I felt I was in her shoes and quite literally held my breath more than once. This book puts a face to the plight of immigrants and the often harrowing journey they take to get here. It sent me to the internet to research for myself the conditions in Acapulco and what the drug cartels have done to make it one of the most dangerous places in Mexico. I read about “The Beast”, the train many migrants hop on, risking kidnapping, violence, and death in their long, hazardous journey to the U.S.
I’m shocked and disheartened that the author is being vilified and subjected to threats of violence. Ugly, vile things have been said about her. Over fiction, people! This is nothing short of bullying and censorship. It’s a slippery slope when we have readers leave one star “reviews” of a book they haven’t read or change a 4 or 5 star rating to a one star after being “enlightened”.
The author, as stated, is a bridge. She spent four years researching the book and the epilogue left me with even more respect for her. Don’t we need as many voices as possible telling the story? Let the book open hearts and minds and start a civil discussion of the issues. I bought a hardback copy to support the author in the midst of this nonsense, and have no regrets. If you want to support the movement, read this book, followed by an #ownvoices book(s).
I think every time one reads of the plight of those living in disadvantages countries, one can’t help but being ever so grateful for living in America. We have so many advantages that we take for granted and it takes a book such as this to make us realize that life is ever so difficult for those who want very much to be part of the American dream.
There has been much written about this book with an overblown controversy that hinges on the rim of censorship which is quite disturbing. I feel that any book, written by anyone of any race color, creed etc that opens one eyes to the feeling of empathy and knowledge about the plight of others, is a book worth reading. Certainly the main characters in this story displayed the struggle and the resolve of the human spirit in their attempt at finding a better life for themselves and their family.
In this book we saw the good and the evil, which of course dwells across the microcosm of our earth. We felt the struggle. We saw the dangers, the evil that cartels do bring to the people with their blood thirsty hold on those who try to survive under their domain. Fear is an awful thing and the people who live under this fear are intimidated, coerced and terrorized. This is certainly not the way the human spirit can possibly survive when everyday brings murder, mayhem, and evil of the most heinous kind.
I do applaud this author for alerting many of us to the dangers people undergo trying to come to this country particularly from South and Central America. She made it readily comprehensible why the need to escape to a better world is the impetus for so many. I, for one, think she did quite well in her mission to tell a story, albeit a made up one, to bring some enlightenment to those who chose to read her book.
Those who chose to pan this book, as is their right, will and do overlook the intention of the author to tell a story. This is not a non fiction book nor is it the do all and tell all of the plight of those who look to America as their salvation. Those who judge this as more than that have either not read the book or jumped on the bandwagon of becoming “woke.” It is truly a shame and a travesty that we have come to this.
“Because fear and corruption work in tandem to censor the people who might otherwise discover the clues that would point to justice. There will be no evidence, no due process, no vindication.”
and here’s the author
Jeanine Cummins is the author of four books: the bestselling memoir A Rip in Heaven, and the novels The Outside Boy, The Crooked Branch, and American Dirt. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.