Customer Reviews for

Made in the U.S.A.

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    interesting character driven contemporary tale

    In Spearfish, South Dakota, with their mother long dead, the McFee siblings teenage Lutie and preadolescent Fate live with three hundred plus pounds Floy Satterfield their runaway father¿s former girlfriend. However, their lives take a spin when their guardian drops dead at the local megastore. Lutie, who enjoys shoplifting for fun ever since she was booted from the high school gymnastics team due to unfair influences, persuades her eleven year old brother to give up the TV shows and global warming because they have two choices: flee in Floy¿s ancient car or allow the state to place them. They decide to find their wastrel dad whose last known address is Las Vegas with no further specificity except some dive hotel. --- In Las Vegas, they begin to learn nasty truths re their father and prison, and where he might be which if true will prove he is beyond their reach. Fifteen year old Lutie obtains fake working papers and dead-end jobs so she and her brother have food and shelter of sorts. However, increasingly their choices seem to be foster care or the street sharks including avaricious child molesters, rapists, drug addicts and other abusers. However, former aerialist Juan Vargas ¿adopts¿ the pair as his redemption and takes them to his family in Oklahoma where they run the Vargas Brothers Circus. Juan carries guilt, but his grandma has love for all three seemingly losers that might help each find sanctuary if they reach out to her and one another. --- Although at times diving too deep into soap opera territory, MADE IN THE U.S.A. is an interesting character driven contemporary tale that argues it takes a village to raise children. Readers will feel for the McFee sibs, who are neglected while their guardian lived and after she dies make questionable decisions more out of fear. What happens to them especially Lutie in Vegas shows the real sinful underbelly of the city. Although Oklahoma turns out to perfect to be realistic, fans will soar with Lutie, play trivia with Fate and hope Juan forgives himself as they with grandma try to become a family. --- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2008

    This book was great!

    From the very beginning, I could not put this book down. I love her style and her characters come alive for me. Highly recommended! I hope she is in the process of writing another one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Good fun read

    I enjoy Billie Letts and her characters.

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  • Posted May 14, 2011

    Enjoyed!

    It was kind of slow at first, but picked up. Overall I enjoyed it. It was a good short read.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Touching

    This was just a good story of a brother and sister left alone, from a rough family life, and believe they know how to find the American dream. They have nothing to lose, and you will be pulling for them to make it somehow, and hoping they find a family. Very good Billie Letts!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2008

    A Feel Good Read

    I've read all of Billie Letts' novels to this point. You may have heard of her first one - 'Where the Heart Is'- a New york Times bestseller, an Oprah pick and also made into a movie starring Natalie Portman. It is the story of a young pregnant teen who lives in the local Wal Mart. Made in the U.S.A. returns to Wal Mart. Lutie and Fate McFee's father ran off to Las Vegas a year ago, leaving them behind with his girlfriend Floy. While shopping at the local Wal Mart, Floy drops dead. Fifteen year old Lutie decides that they shouldn't wait around for social services to put them into foster care, so they take Floy's car and head off to Vegas to find their dad. With little money and unable to find their dad, they try to survive in Sin City. Some unknown good Samaritan seems to be watching out for them, leaving food and notes on the hood of the car they're living in - but it's not enough. Lutie and Fate are soon subjected to the ugly side of Vegas. I'll stop there without going any further into the plot and spoiling the tale. Letts' hallmark seems to be that family is not always biological. This theme was also the basis for 'The Honk and Holler Opening Soon'. And it's done well again in Made in the U.S.A. Although it becomes somewhat predicable as to what's going to happen in the end, it is still an enjoyable, feel good read that will have you cheering for Lutie and Fate and the resilience of the human spirit.

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