Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Review: Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts

The bestselling author of WHERE THE HEART IS returns with a heartrending tale of two children in search of a place to call home. Lutie McFee's history has taught her to avoid attachments...to people, to places, and to almost everything. With her mother long dead and her father long gone to find his fortune in Las Vegas, 15-year-old Lutie lives in the god-forsaken town of Spearfish, South Dakota with her twelve-year-old brother, Fate, and Floy Satterfield, the 300-pound ex-girlfriend of her father. While Lutie shoplifts for kicks, Fate spends most of his time reading, watching weird TV shows and worrying about global warming and the endangerment of pandas. As if their life is not dismal enough, one day, while shopping in their local Wal-Mart, Floy keels over and the two motherless kids are suddenly faced with the choice of becoming wards of the state or hightailing it out of town in Floy's old Pontiac. Choosing the latter, they head off to Las Vegas in search of a father who has no known address, no phone number and, clearly, no interest in the kids he left behind.
MADE IN THE U.S.A. is the alternately heartbreaking and life-affirming story of two gutsy children who must discover how cruel, unfair and frightening the world is before they come to a place they can finally call home.

Made in the U.S.A. is not an easy book to read.  Lutie and Fate are a brother and sister to whom life has not been kind.  Despite Lutie's best efforts to keep herself and her little brother safe, things keep going wrong.  Las Vegas is definitely no place for kids!  

The tension builds as Lutie keeps making the wrong decisions.  Those she thinks are friends may not be.  But she and Fate are homeless and she will do almost anything to survive.  

The story is written well, though rather dark.  Where the kids end up is almost too fantastical for a believable ending.  Still, Letts did show Lutie struggling to deal with the things she was forced to do.  It stayed a few degrees away from a fairy tale ending which kept the book more believable.

 I give this book 3 Bookworms.

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