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American Dirt Quotes
One of my favorite things about reading a book is the chance to see the world from a different perspective.
Inside the world of the book, you mentally walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, see parts of the world you may never visit, time travel to the past, and even delve into the future and alternate universes. It’s an adventure, and like most good adventures, the journey reveals something about you.
That being said, there are some journeys that we would prefer not to take in our own lives, but the reality is, many people aren’t given the choice. Sometimes, the choice hinges only on where you happen to be born and in what era.
I’ve never had to flee my own country in fear for my life. I’ve never been discriminated against because of the color of my skin. But reading stories like American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins creates a small window into a world vastly different from my own, yet centering on a woman who is not that different from me. I don’t think you can read this story without it stirring up feelings of empathy: worry, fear, stress, panic, faith, loss, hope…
17 American Dirt Quotes (With Page Numbers)
1. “There’s a blessing in the moments after terror and before confirmation.” Chapter 1, pg. 4
2. “She doesn’t ask if he’s okay, because from now on that question will carry a weight of painful absurdity.” Chapter 2, pg. 7
3. “The unsolved-crime rate in Mexico is well north of 90 percent. The costumed existence of la policía provides the necessary counterillusion to the fact of the cartel’s actual impunity.” Chapter 2, pg. 9
4. “If there’s one good thing about terror, Lydia now understands, it’s that it’s more immediate than grief.” Chapter 3, pg. 23
5. “Now and again when a book moved her, when a book opened a previously undiscovered window in her mind and forever altered her perception of the world, she would add it to those secret ranks.” Chapter 4, pg. 25
6. “Javier reminded her, in the middle of her mothering years, that life was exciting, that there was always the possibility of something, or someone, previously undiscovered.” Chapter 4, pg. 33
7. “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.” Chapter 10, pg. 94
8. “As she closed the browser and leaned back in her chair, Lydia discovered that there were many different ways to feel horrified at once.” Chapter 15, pg. 146
9. “Lydia is constantly reminded that her education has no purchase here, that she has no access to the kind of information that has real currency on this journey. Among migrants, everyone knows more than she does. How do you find a coyote, make sure he’s reputable, pay for your crossing, all without getting ripped off?” Chapter 20, pg. 212
10. “Everyone seemed to forget that they were animals, too. That memory returns now as the trucks swoop in arcs around the panicked migrants. Lydia has never before likened herself, on purpose or by any metaphorical accident of psychology, to an animal. So there’s a crushing despair that accompanies this recollection. How animalistic they are in this field. She feels like prey.” Chapter 21, pg. 220
11. “So Lydia is worried about all these things, and yet, she has a new understanding about the futility of worry. The worst will either happen or not happen, and there’s no worry that will make a difference in either direction. Don’t think.” Chapter 27, pg. 279
12. “It’s an older novel, a Stephen King book Lydia read many years ago, and slipping back into it is briefly transporting, like she can reach back through time and commune with the person she was when she first read it. That act of communion feels both lucky and holy.” Chapter 28, pg. 291
13. “But the moment of the crossing has already passed, and she didn’t even realize it had happened. She never looked back, never committed any small act of ceremony to help launch her into the new life on the other side. Nothing can be undone.” Chapter 30, pg. 323
14. “It’s terrifying to hear grunting and snuffling and clicking and shrieking, sometimes at a distance, sometimes rather close, and to not be able to see what kinds of creatures are creating all that racket. It’s a queer, vulnerable feeling to sit without armor among nocturnal animals, knowing they can see you and smell you and feel you there. Knowing that you’re blind to their presence should they decide to approach.” Chapter 30, pg. 323
15. “for every wickedness, there is an equal and opposite possibility of redemption.” Chapter 32, pg. 337
16. “There’s a moment, Lydia realizes, or no, more than a moment—a span of perhaps fifteen minutes just at twilight—when the desert is the most perfect place that exists. The temperature, the light, the colors, all hang and linger at some unflawed precipice, like the cars of a roller coaster ticking ever so slowly over the apex before the crash.” Chapter 32, pg. 337
17. “Amor en los tiempos del cólera, first in Spanish, then again in English. No one can take this from her. This book is hers alone.” Epilogue, pg. 378