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Reader: American Dirt Is a Novel, Not Non-Fiction. Wake Up, People!

Jeanine Cummins.
Jeanine Cummins.
Joe Kennedy

Jeanine Cummins, the author of American Dirt, will not be at the Tattered Cover on Colfax today. After just five stops, her entire national tour was canceled in the wake of growing opposition to the novel, which tells the story of a Mexican woman and her son fleeing a drug cartel and heading to the United States.

Cummins is not Mexican, and the question over whether she was qualified to write such a book (which had already garnered plenty of publicity, including a spot in Oprah's Book Club) exploded over the past few weeks, as people started pointing out flaws in the novel and also criticized the tone-deaf promotional tour. And on January 29, Flatiron Publishing pulled the plug on that tour, citing “specific threats to booksellers and the author.”

Readers have been quick to respond, here and nationally. Says Anne: 

I am growing weary of the "Cancel Culture." So she wrote a book of fiction. Why must she be protested, defiled, CANCELLED! If you don't like her book, don't buy it and read it. Harper Lee wrote a book several decades ago about racism in the South. It was pretty spot-on. She was a white women but somehow her words struck a chord with many people across the country, no matter their race. What a crazy world we live in today!

Adds Shaun: 

It directly hinders creativity and imagination, and what would we have left after these are stripped away? Fahrenheit 451?

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Responds Patricia: 

Don't buy it! Simple! Bad fiction.   

Adds Anny:

 There are way better Latinx authors out there with REAL stories about their hardships. This story is full of stereotypes which feed the narrative. She never experienced anything of what she wrote and she is making millions telling stories that do not pertain to her. Please support Latinx and black authors, not this woman trying to tell a story that isn’t hers.

Counters Timothy: 

Fascism working its way in the USA. It's a novel. Not non-fiction. Wake up, people.

Notes Corey:

 And no plumbers can write about surfers. No house painters can write about lawyers. No Floridians can write about Minnesotans. No Christians can write about Hindus. No ping pong champions can write about arrow-hunters. No MS patients can write about cancer survivors. No post-menopausal women can write about prepubescent boys. No human can write about dragons. No faeries can write about wizards. No ravers can write about waltzers. No poachers can write about priests. No....

There goes fiction.

One of the interesting things about this ‘stay in your lane’ woke bologna is that we have only a few politicized differences that are assumed to matter.

Suggests Richard:

 The irony being this whole thing will end up selling more of the book than the tour to begin with.

And Ann concludes: 

Let’s give each other some grace and the benefit of the doubt. She created a story and wrote a book. It’s all okay, people.

In announcing the cancellation, Bob Miller, head of Flatirons, noted: “We believe there exists real peril to their safety.”

Tattered Cover has sent e-mails to ticket holders regarding the canceled event.

What do you think about Cummins's book? The canceled tour? Post a comment or email your thoughts to editorial@westword.com. 

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