A review from USA Today read that the novel ‘reeks of opportunism, substituting character arcs for mere trauma’.
Author Julissa Arce Raya took to Twitter in her criticism of the endorsement, writing: ‘As a Mexican immigrant, who was undocumented, I can say with authority that this book is a harmful, stereotypical, damaging representation of our experiences. Please listen to us when we tell you, this book isn’t it.’
Mexican American actress Sara Ramirez – known for her role in Grey’s Anatomy – said on Twitter that Oprah should read an article about ‘fake…social justice literature’.
Oprah has since responded to the backlash on the book club Instagram page, saying: ‘It’s clear that we need to have a different kind of conversation about American Dirt and we welcome everyone’s thoughts and opinions in our community.’
Going on to explain why she does endorse the book and what her response to the criticism is, she said: ‘I was deeply moved, it had me riveted from the very first sentence and I could hardly wait, really, to share it with all of you.
‘Now, it has become clear to me from the outpouring of, may I say, of very passionate opinions that this selection has struck an emotional chord and created a need for a deeper, more substantive discussion.
‘What I want to do is bring people together from all sides to talk about this book and who gets to publish what stories, and I’m hoping that that is going to resonate with many of you and your concerns.’
Viewers can expect the discussion to be aired on Apple TV+ in March.