On January 21, media mogul Oprah Winfrey announced on Twitter that author Jeanine Cummins’ new book “American Dirt” was her latest book club selection. That decision did not sit well with many in the Latinx community.

 

In her announcement, Winfrey said, “I feel that everybody who reads this book is actually going to be immersed in the experience of what it means to be a migrant on the run for freedom.” The “experience” the novel conveys is the story of Lydia, a mother who is running from a brutal drug cartel in Acapulco, Mexico, to the United States with her son.

A number of people turned to social media to detail their issues with the book and its author. Some date back to December 2019, when Cummins tweeted a barbed wire manicure, which elicited backlash. As author Christine Swint tweeted in response, “Azulejos and barbed wire on a manicure? You’re fetishizing the pain and cultural heritage of refugees and immigrant to sell a story that’s not yours to sell.” 

 

Many responded directly to Winfrey’s post to suggest titles penned by Latinx writers:

 

While neither Cummins nor Winfrey have responded, the critiques are still coming: