No doubt, Cummins can write. American Dirt was a page-turner from front cover to the end. The story is tightly told; no wasted description, dialogue, or scenes. Its unfortunate---perhaps even a crime against literature---that the novel has been criticized because the author is not of "approved" heritage or color: how ridiculous is that? It is unforgiveable that in her post-script, the author bows down to those criticisms and tries to justify herself. Nonsense! The work stands on its own and should be judged on its own. It matters not who wrote it, where they are from, what color they are, what gender they are, or who their ancestors are. Judge the book. Judge. The. Book. Had I read her mea-not-really-sorta-culpa before I'd read the book, I likely would have been so disgusted I wouldn't have read the book.
One criticism I have of the book is the author's choice <spoiler alert> to have no one on the migrant trail be a person with criminal intentions (except those pursuing the heroine and her son). There are no drug dealers seeking new customers, there are no gang members seeking access to new territory in the US, there are no murderers seeking anonymity across the border---everyone is an innocent victim with only the most noble of intentions. And as anyone with experience in the field can tell you, that is quite simply not true...not the case. I don't think the author does this out of naivete; I think she does it out of political ideology. So be it. It's her book. But it takes away from the realism that she so desperately pretends to want to be portraying.