When Oprah's Book Club premieres Friday, it will feature Oprah, American Dirt author Jeanine Cummins and three prominent critics of her controversial immigration-themed novel in an episode that will air in two parts. “If you read the book there is no doubt you heard about the controversy around it,” said Winfrey. “I heard and understand the concerns and wanted to bring together many voices to lean into this conversation because for 25 years on ‘The Oprah Show’ I learned that is the only way I think we can actually gain a better understanding of one another.” The Associated Press, which attended the nearly two-hour taping, adds: "When Oprah Winfrey chose the novel American Dirt for her book club, she imagined engaging in an impassioned television dialog about the narrative, which follows a Mexican mother and her son fleeing to the United States. Instead, Winfrey ended up organizing a show that put the book, author Jeanine Cummins and Winfrey herself on trial. After critics complained about the novel's portrayal of Latinos, she turned the forum into a debate about the marginalization of Latino voices, the lack of diversity in publishing and the question of who is best suited to tell a given story."