Looking for something to jumpstart your book club discussion on American Dirt? We have a list of questions in this post that will help you to get the conversation going!
Jeanine Cummins’ novel American Dirt, is a wonderful piece of literature. An exceptional narrative that hooks you from the beginning and takes you on an amazing trip. You will be amazed at the struggles of immigrants and their journey.
Regardless of the small details, the author gives in the novel, the lesson is bigger. It is full of twists and turns that will keep you thinking about it long after you’ve finished reading.
The novel explores the themes of culture, trust, and socioeconomic differences. And it also takes a look at motherhood, injustice, pain, and love for your family. It is a great book for book clubs because it raises many interesting questions.
It also brings up concepts that are impossible to discuss if you’re only reading and not talking about them. A good book will generate questions that go beyond the pages. And American Dirt is full of interesting questions.
American Dirt book synopsis
American Dart is a novel about immigrants. According to its author, it is fiction based on years of research. Its protagonist is Lydia Quixano Pérez, who is a bookseller living in Acapulco, Mexico. She has an eight-year-old son, Luca, the love of her life, and also a lovely husband who is a journalist.
However, due to drug cartels, the situation in Acapulco started getting worse. Despite this, Lydia lives a comfortable life with her family. One day a man comes to her bookstore and buys some books. He also buys two of Lydia’s favorite works, which she thought would never be sold.
Javier is conscious and charming. But there is a fact that Lydia doesn’t know. Javier is also the head of the new cartel that has taken over the city.
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Lydia’s husband publishes a revealing article about Javier in a local newspaper. So, this act of Lydia’s husband changes Lydia and her family life forever. Javier murders more than a dozen members of her family, during the quinceañera party. Her husband is also killed.
Lydia decides to flee to the United States with her eight-year-old son, Luca. Lydia and Luca soon find themselves miles away from their comfortable existence. They travel in La Bestia, the name by which the trains head to the United States.
Lydia wants to get there because that’s the only place Javier won’t be able to find them. They join the countless people who are also trying to move north. Lydia realizes that they are all running away from something. But why are they all running away?
American Dirt book club questions to discuss
You’ve read the book, now it’s time to discuss it! To explore the themes of the book, use these questions for your book club discussion on American Dirt.
1- American Dirt is a controversial book. Did you decide to read it after knowing this or did you not know this? And what do you think about this controversy after reading the novel?
2- American Dirt follows the story of a mother and her son who are forced to flee Mexico for the United States. What are your thoughts on this timely story?
3- A lot of people compare this novel to the Grapes of Wrath. Do you think it’s fair to compare?
4- The story begins with violent scenes. The cartel members kill 16 members of Lydia’s family. How did you feel about this kind of the beginning of this novel?
5- Javier has a wonderful personality. He befriends Lydia but later kills Lydia’s entire family. Was it necessary for the story to show their friendship before the violent event?
6- Didn’t Lydia have any concerns about her husband’s job before that violent event?
7- Who is the most important person in Lydia’s life?
8- Lydia has to stay at her husband’s friend’s house in Mexico. But the friend’s wife doesn’t like them staying there. How would you react if you were in Lydia’s place?
9- What are your thoughts on the portrayal of the Mexican government and its people in the novel?
10- During her perilous journey, Lydia meets two sisters. Rebeca and Soledad were fleeing their hometown of Honduras due to the violence. What are your thoughts on the interactions of Luca and Lydia with Rebeca and Soledad?
11- Luca, who is only eight years old, is an expert in geography and mapping. What do you think of his ability?
12- Javier’s daughter committed suicide after reading that article against her father. Is that why Javier killed Lydia’s family? Did he really want to kill Lydia? What do you think?
13- This journey of Luca and Lydia was very risky. It also shows a lot of violence. Do you think it is appropriate to show so much violence? Were these violent scenes right according to this story?
14- How do you feel about the story while reading the novel and after finishing it?
15- What is your opinion about El Chacal? Do you consider him a villain or a hero? Why did he allow Soledad to kill Lorenzo?
16- Do you think Beto’s explanation for getting the money was correct?
17- Javier was the leader of a dangerous cartel. So should Lydia’s husband have written an article against him?
18- Marisol is disappointed because they deported her from the United States. How do you feel about her? Is she really brave?
19- What would you think if one day you found out that one of your close friends had actually been a brutal drug lord?
20- What do you think of the publication of the article by Sebastian? Was his action heroic or foolish? When he published that article against Javier didn’t he fear that Javier could harm him or his family?
21- How do you feel about the end of the novel? Did you feel like it was satisfying?
22- What do you think will be the life of Lydia and Luca in the new place?
23- What did you think of the book? Did you find it triggering?
24- Who was the most dangerous person in Lydia’s life?
25- What did you think of the characters? Did you feel like you could relate to them?
26- What did you think of the author’s writing style?
27- What did you think of the way the novel was structured? How do you see it with alternate sections from the points of view of different characters?
28- Did you have any predictions about where the story was headed? Did any of your predictions come true?
29- Did the book make you think about any current events happening in the world?
30- Have you read anything else by Jeanine Cummins? How does this novel compare?
31- What did the author gain by telling this story from multiple points of view?
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Check out some more readings like the American Dirt Book
After the list of discussion questions for the American Dirt book, we will now suggest 3 more books.
Following the loss of her husband, Anahara decides to return to her homeland, Golden Cove. It is a small, hidden enclave in New Zealand. She has not settled well yet when she has to discover a young, vibrant lady. The lady has gone missing and she has left no clue behind her.
With the disappearance of the woman, the summer season of eight years ago comes to mind. Many other women also disappeared in the same way at that time. Is it possible that there is a connection between the two cases?
Will, who is the cop in charge, despite the investigation is dealing with his own issues. He seeks Anahara’s help to find out the mysterious link between the locals and the missing lady.
How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones is an autobiography. The book is the winner of the 2019 Kirkus Prize and also the Stonewall Book Award. In the book, he describes the daily life of a young black gay man from the southern United States.
A story in which a man struggles to find himself and make a place for himself in his family and in his country. A series of stories that traverse the entire American landscape.
The author takes us back to his childhood and young days. Furthermore, he describes his turbulent relationship with his mother and grandmother. He also shares his adventures with lovers, friends, and strangers.
Each section of his memoir is part of an analysis of race and identity, strengths and weaknesses, and love and grief. How We Fight For Our Lives proves Saeed Jones to be one of the most important American writers of our time.
The Last Thing He Told Me is an easy-to-read thriller. It manages to arouse interest in how the plot unfolds, a way to unravel the mystery. First of all, it begins with a disappearance. Owen Michaels goes missing and his wife has to uncover the truth. She also has to deal with a teenage girl and do her best to protect her.
But the girl does not accept her. Without saying more about the plot, we enter into a story that leads us to find the answers to the questions it asks. A book with moments of tension, and a constant and fast rhythm. Likewise, it combines a very interesting read with moments of thinking about what happens next.
We hope you enjoy this article of American Dirt book club questions.
Kamran is a literature graduate from a reputed university. He started his journey in the world of writing blogs in 2012. Over the years, his passion for writing and love of books evolved into a dedicated book blog. With a discerning eye from a literature lover, he offers reviews, summaries, and thought-provoking discussion questions.