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Old 01-26-2020, 05:32 PM
 
11,095 posts, read 10,233,999 times
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I was surprised to see a really aggressively bad review, just for its being a bad book, and would have posted it here, just because it's an interesting rarity.

A Mother and Son, Fleeing for Their Lives Over Treacherous Terrain
"American Dirt" by Jeanine Cummins

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/17/b...e-cummins.html

But now there's the additional discussion of backlash, having more to do with political correctness

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51230164

https://slate.com/culture/2020/01/am...explained.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/25/a...e-cummins.html
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Old 01-26-2020, 06:19 PM
 
Location: So Ca
18,428 posts, read 16,956,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cida View Post
I was surprised to see a really aggressively bad review, just for its being a bad book
But is it a "bad" book? I haven't read it yet. I think that what people are upset about is that the author is white, and they don't believe that she should be "allowed" to write a book about someone with a different ethnic background than her own.

The author has said she spent four years researching her subject, traveling extensively on both sides of the border, interviewing migrants, throughout Mexico and along the border as well as border patrol agents, immigration advocates, professors and other experts.

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/stor...iation-critics

And as the author of the above column states, Sophie’s Choice was written by William Styron, a white Southerner who had the audacity to tell the story of the Holocaust through the eyes of a Polish survivor of Auschwitz.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:08 AM
 
Location: East Coast
3,787 posts, read 2,323,486 times
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I posted about this in the What are you Reading thread, as I was considering reading it, but after reading about it, I am not going to.

It's not just that she is white, but she gets a lot wrong. It's really hard to get a story right if you are writing about a place and about people that you know nothing about. And the people she's writing about have representation -- there are many Latinx authors who have written about these things, but they don't get the hype this lady got.

I had read one of her previous books, and did not find it very good. It was forced upon my book club, and I was really hoping I'd like it but I really did not. So, even though the subject matter sounded interesting to me, I was a little worried since I did not particularly like this author after I read a previous book she had written. I understand this book is also not very well written, and on top of it has all the cultural appropriation that I was worried it might contain. She read a lot of books by Latinx authors, and while she didn't exactly plagiarize, she basically re-told some of the stories that were in those other nonfiction narratives. It is NOT merely "political correctness."

Hard pass on this one for me.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ameri...r28dKA3N2jPf18

https://medium.com/@davidbowles/non-...RgKiMmNz_i_J9c

https://tropicsofmeta.com/2019/12/12...I8b2qhVCevo1po

Last edited by chicagoliz; 01-27-2020 at 06:26 AM..
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Old 01-27-2020, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Maine
18,125 posts, read 22,056,168 times
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I have no plans to read the book. It sounds like it is problematic at best.

But the backlash against the book and the author is really troubling. If you don't like the book, fine. Say so. If you strongly disagree with something it, more power to you. But trying to "cancel" the book and the author ... that's just ugly, mean, and really dangerous when it comes to art of any kind. There is a world of difference between saying, "I don't like your book, and here is why," and saying, "I hate your book, I hate you, and no one should be allowed to read your book!"

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/...ican-dirt.html

Quote:
Even after Left Bank’s announcement that it was adding Latinx speakers to the program, emotions remained high. “Some in the community pushed back harder,” the open letter stated, “Posts on social media, calls to our venue partners and others were made insisting we cancel the event. It felt like the struggle we've been a part of for years [was] aimed back at us. It hurt. And it felt like a challenge to do better.”

Co-owner Kris Kleindienst said in a telephone interview on Sunday afternoon that “there were not actual threats, as in ‘I am going to hurt you.’ But the conversation got so ugly so quickly; it went from zero to one thousand in less than a week. We weren’t sure that we could provide what we had envisioned: a safe, respectful, and meaningful conversation. We were not prepared for what might happen, and I didn’t want to put my staff and the Ethical Society staff through that.”
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Old 01-27-2020, 02:30 PM
 
Location: East Coast
3,787 posts, read 2,323,486 times
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It's just sad that the publisher decided to expend the time, money and energy on this author and this inauthentic book. If the issue is so important, why hadn't they done the same full court PR campaign for other books on this topic? You don't see very many books being pushed this hard by the publisher. Why did they pick this one?
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Old 01-28-2020, 06:29 AM
 
Location: Maine
18,125 posts, read 22,056,168 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagoliz View Post
It's just sad that the publisher decided to expend the time, money and energy on this author and this inauthentic book. If the issue is so important, why hadn't they done the same full court PR campaign for other books on this topic? You don't see very many books being pushed this hard by the publisher. Why did they pick this one?
The same reason publishers do that with any book: $$$$$

They saw the potential for profits.

And it should be noted that, yes, the book is causing some controversy and has some very vocal people very upset, the book has also gotten some good reviews from some big name authors and folks in the publishing biz. The haters are just being a lot louder at the moment.

Which I have never understood. You want a book or album or movie to be a big hit? Protest it! Best thing for it. The #1 way to get people to buy your art is to demand that they shouldn't. It happened with rock and roll in the '50s. It happened with Dungeons and Dragons in the '80s. Any time there is even a whisper of a book being banned, people immediately rush out to buy it.
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Old 01-28-2020, 06:35 AM
 
Location: East Coast
3,787 posts, read 2,323,486 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
The same reason publishers do that with any book: $$$$$

They saw the potential for profits.

And it should be noted that, yes, the book is causing some controversy and has some very vocal people very upset, the book has also gotten some good reviews from some big name authors and folks in the publishing biz. The haters are just being a lot louder at the moment.

Which I have never understood. You want a book or album or movie to be a big hit? Protest it! Best thing for it. The #1 way to get people to buy your art is to demand that they shouldn't. It happened with rock and roll in the '50s. It happened with Dungeons and Dragons in the '80s. Any time there is even a whisper of a book being banned, people immediately rush out to buy it.
They publish hundreds of new books a week. Very few get the full marketing campaign this one has. There is always some reason one book out of hundreds gets treated this way.

Book marketing, though, is interesting and unique -- you're going after the market of readers, which is inherently limited. And this book is alienating a good portion of the very readers they were targeting.
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Maine
18,125 posts, read 22,056,168 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagoliz View Post
They publish hundreds of new books a week. Very few get the full marketing campaign this one has. There is always some reason one book out of hundreds gets treated this way.
In this case, I think the One Reason is pretty clear:

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Old 01-28-2020, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,519 posts, read 7,647,657 times
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Hey People the KEYWORD is : FICTION. I remeber reading abook by David Brin (?) a few years ago that was written from the perspective of a dolphin. Obviously fiction?
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Old 01-28-2020, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Maine
18,125 posts, read 22,056,168 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunluvver2 View Post
Hey People the KEYWORD is : FICTION. I remeber reading abook by David Brin (?) a few years ago that was written from the perspective of a dolphin. Obviously fiction?
STARTIDE RISING. Good book. Not only does it have sentient dolphins, but sentient orca and a sentient chimpanzee.
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