Book Club

Q: What is a book you have recently read, cover to cover? Why did you read it? What did you learn from it? Would you recommend it to others?

A: I love to poke around on Amazon and Goodreads, and find suggestions for new books to explore. Although I mostly lean toward nonfiction, memoirs, and fiction classics, there’s a lot to be said for keeping an open mind to a book that’s off your beaten path.

This one, for example.

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My favorite way to keep a reading list is to download the sample chapters for the Kindle app. And when I came across this bestseller, its sample chapter pulled me in immediately — and wouldn’t let go.

I feel sometimes like an outsider because I don’t normally watch crime shows on television. NCIS, Criminal Minds, Law & Order, just not my thing. American Dirt isn’t a crime drama per se, but it begins with a violent scene of the characters’ family members being assassinated by a cartel in Acapulco, Mexico.

And the story proceeds at 200 miles per hour from that point on. Lydia, the wife of a journalist who had published an article revealing the identity of the head of a powerful cartel, must get herself and her son Luca to safety. Amid further violence, betrayal, and constant terror of being found by the crime lord’s ever-present spies, Lydia must figure out how they can make their way to el Norte.

Oh, my goodness. Although this is a work of fiction, it opened my eyes to the plight of innocent people who are threatened by the drug cartels in Mexico and other countries. How terrifying that must be. As Lydia and her son pressed their way north, placing their trust in numerous migrants and sympathetic missionary workers, I was riveted to the pages.

Whatever your stance on undocumented immigration, I would recommend this book because of the compelling, suspenseful storyline and also because of the way it illustrates the dangers that Lydia and her son went through to survive. Their suffering is heart-wrenching, and eye-opening.

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