WHO IS JEANINE CUMMINS?

While she is getting lots of attention for her current Oprah-anointed, blockbuster novel, American Dirt, Ms Cummins has published three previous works of non-fiction and fiction. In this op-ed piece in the NYT, written 12/31/2015, she addresses issues of race, or rather the sensationalization of race, as it directly relates to a personal family tragedy, the rapes and murders of her two young, female cousins. She subsequently wrote the book, A Rip in Heaven: A Memoir of Murder and Its Aftermath, about the crimes suffered by her two female cousins who were randomly raped and murdered by a gang of men and her brother, who was with them, but survived.

It stuns me but does not surprise me, the depth of the vitriol (threats of physical violence!) being hurled against her for writing a fictionalized account of one woman’s sudden and unexpected expulsion from her comfortable, middle-class life as a bookseller in Acapulco into a desperate mother-on-the-run to the southern border of the United States, with her 8-yr old son in tow, determined to survive the massacre of her entire family at the nads of narcotraficantes.

Read this.

Read this too!

How do we help these people!?

Worth reading interviews and listening to her discuss her life as a writer and the choices she made in deciding to tackle this topic with as much sensitivity and respect as possible. As noted in a previous post about American Dirt, I am fully against the silencing of fiction writers in the name of their voices or their personhoods not being qualified” to speak or write about something outside of their own, direct experiences. Can you imagine where Shakespeare would be today? The upside about all the controversy surrounding American Dirt is the attention this story of migration if garnering. I can’t read enough of them (although this was by far the most intense reading experience I’ve had in recent memory).