• Sara Rimer

    Senior Contributing Editor

    Sara Rimer

    Sara Rimer spent 26 years as a reporter at the New York Times, where she wrote about education, the death penalty, immigration, and aging in America, and was the New England bureau chief. The Times nominated her for the Pulitzer Prize. Her coverage of the death penalty was cited by the Supreme Court in its 2002 ruling outlawing the execution of developmentally disabled individuals. Profile

Comments & Discussion

Boston University moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (EST) and can only accept comments written in English.

There are 7 comments on The “American Dirt” Controversy: Lessons for Writers on Getting Cultures Right

  1. The more she is attacked, the more I feel sorry for Jeanine Cummins — who wrote American Dirt because she cared. People should read the book for themselves. I suspect many readers will be moved and inspired to read more books on this subject.

    1. I suggest you read through the interview once more. The issue isn’t that Jeanine Cummins was the person to write her book, it’s how she did it. Personal attacks are not productive, everyone can agree on that. It is productive, however, to criticize writers with social and cultural power who write at the expense of others’ humanity. Sure, Jeanine Cummins may have written the novel because she cares. But the people of color criticizing her writing and the publishing industry also do so because they care, and they are the ones who are most affected by this controversy. Jeanine was paid a seven figure advance, let’s not forget about that.

  2. I listened to the audio book twice. I read the criticisms after.
    I have worked with workers from these countries for 25 years,
    know some of their stories; some who came here as teenagers
    I was fortunate to have traveled to one of these countries, as a
    guest; I was welcomed, stayed with family, and immersed in culture.
    Not, not among the wealthy and priviledged, regular people, like myself
    I admire them as good people, family people, and friends and appreciate
    the communities they have formed here to navigate the immigrant
    experience that awaited them here, and I will continue to support “them”
    There isn’t enough literature documenting the challenges to be faced
    on the journey, and the reasons that force these men and women to make
    the decision to “leave the land they love”…….Any book can be criticized;
    it would be unfortunate if the criticism of American Dirt dissuaded many
    not to read it. It may not be “perfect” as the criticism of the novel suggests,
    it was well done, peaked my interest, and I will recommend it to my reading
    family and friends; our grandparents were immigrants too.
    I will read Mr Suarez’ book about Cuba, which will interest me
    as well, when it becomes available.

  3. You mean piqued your interest not peaked your interest … I am an immigrant as well. I believe that the book was written and the author was given an assignment and a lot of money to write of the Mexican refugee experience for political reasons. So for me I question the integrity of not only the author but the story.

Post a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *