Book tip: "American Dirt"
It's sort of reached the point in America — the world? — where one can't express an opinion, particularly professionally, without the advance precaution of assembling a Johnny Cochran defense team to justify expressing said opinion to begin with. This certainly applies to arts writing, which explains why I've already wasted a lot of space without even starting my review of Jeanine Cummins's "American Dirt" — the writing and publication of which comprise the most controversial moment in U.S. history since the NRA paid for their first politician. Anyway, yes, "American Dirt": It's a very good novel about a widow and her eight-year-old son on the run from a vicious cartel boss, hoping to make it to the U.S. The tension ratchets up as though by a screw-gun held to your skull, and it's got incredibly compelling and heart-melting heroes. Too, Cummins writes evocative and in often lovely fashion. By this point, you'll think it's not possible to start the book with all the raging arguments affecting you ability to read it objectively. Wrong. It's that good.