Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Made in the U.S.A.

Made in the U.S.A.

3.7 62
by Billie Letts
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In a second Letts title where a pivotal event occurs at a Wal-Mart (the first was the author's bestseller Where the Heart Is), two long-neglected kids have to fend for themselves—and quickly. After their father's ex-girlfriend, Floy, who is their guardian, drops dead at the chain's Spearfish, S.D., megastore, 15-year-old Lutie McFee persuades her 11-year-old brother, Fate, to take off in Floy's Pontiac to their long-gone dad's last known address, a fleabag hotel in Las Vegas. There, they discover discouraging secrets about their father's whereabouts. Lutie gets fake working papers and a string of dead-end jobs. But with the threat of foster care looming, Lutie and trivia-mad Fate are soon at the mercy of child predators. Letts (whose son Tracy won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) manages this potentially maudlin or lurid material with a frank lyricism, delivering a heartbreaking tale about love, loss and survival that will stick with the reader long after the last page is turned. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

Adult/High School

After the sudden death of Floy, her father's 300-pound girlfriend, 15-year-old Lutie McFee flees Spearfish, SD, with her 11-year-old brother, Fate. With only an apartment address to guide them, the siblings head toward Las Vegas in Floy's Pontiac, in search of the father they haven't seen or heard from in a year. Lutie's defiant personality lands the pair in a number of dangerous and precarious situations. However, her equally dominant determination drives her to do almost anything to protect her intellectual and withdrawn brother. When she is almost beaten to death during a robbery, a mysterious protector, Juan Vargas, comes to their aid. After getting medical treatment for her, Juan transports Lutie and Fate to his hometown in Hugo, OK. While Fate discovers a world of wonder and happiness, Lutie struggles to accept the support that is being offered to her. The ending, while unlikely, is satisfying and emotionally rewarding. Teens will immediately be drawn into the story by Lutie's feisty personality as well as the adventure, and ultimate hardship, of living by your wits. Recommend this one to those who enjoy gutsy protagonists, gritty plotlines, and fairy-tale endings.-Lynn Rashid, Marriots Ridge High School, Marriotsville, MD

Kirkus Reviews
Letts (Shoot the Moon, 2004, etc.) returns with another uplifting tearjerker, this time about an orphaned brother and sister who face travail before finding love and acceptance within an Oklahoma circus family. Fifteen-year-old Lutie McFee's mother is long dead. Her alcoholic father has decamped to Las Vegas, leaving Lutie and her 11-year-old brother Fate in the care of his latest girlfriend Floy. When Floy drops dead at Wal-Mart, tough but lovable Lutie and precocious but friendless Fate head to Vegas to find their father. By the time they arrive and discover he's died in prison, they're flat broke. Lutie earns money any way she can, including posing for porn, while Fate sells lost golf balls when he's not hanging around the library or the elementary school he hopes to attend. After a rape and a few other humiliations, Lutie, who has also developed a cocaine habit, is robbed and badly beaten. Fortunately, Lutie and Fate have a guardian angel. Juan Vargas, who has been helping them anonymously since their arrival, now saves Lutie. A former aerialist with Cirque de Soleil until a fall ended his career and left him disabled, Juan drives the McFees to Oklahoma where his family runs a circus. Juan has his own emotional baggage; having left Vargas Brothers Circus years earlier, he never returned to face his heartbroken father. Instead, after his accident, Juan drifted into addiction until joining AA (which he describes glowingly although he never attends meetings). In Oklahoma, Fate almost immediately feels at home, making his first real friend and learning to fish. Recuperating from her attack, Lutie at first resists the care offered by Juan's grandmother Mama Sim, but once she reveals toMama Sim her deepest, guiltiest (most trite) secret, Lutie is emotionally ready to accept the love the Vargas family offers. And through Lutie's talent as an aerialist, Juan finds his own way back into the family fold. So much travail, so much uplift! So much phony plotting and superficial characterization. Agent: Lisa Callamaro/Lisa Callamaro Literary Agency

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446582452
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
05/04/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
496,019
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Billie Letts was the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Where the Heart Is, The Honk and Holler Opening Soon, Shoot the Moon, and Made in the U.S.A. A native Oklahoman, she died in 2014.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >