Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book Review- Made in the U.S.A.

I just finished reading Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts.

From Goodreads:

Lutie McFee's history has taught her to avoid 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.
This book was just okay for me.  I have read the other books by Billie Letts and enjoyed them a lot more than I did this one.  The two main characters, Lutie and Fate, just didn't do it for me.  I liked Fate some of the times--I mean, I felt poorly for the young boy and his situation.  But I didn't feel any warmth from Lutie and at times I thought her moves were stupid and selfish.  In most stories where teenagers and young children lose their families, you want to root for them.  But I just couldn't root for Lutie.  She was just unlikeable.  I grew more interested in the end of the story when the siblings are welcomed into the family of circus owners.  But other than that, the story dragged for me.
I gave this book a rating of 2.5/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 25
What's In A Name? 3 Challenge: Place Name
*FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Hachette Book Group for an honest review.


  1. I love Billie Letts, and although I didn't hate this book, I agree with you - it definitely wasn't one of my favorites! and I didn't feel anything for Lutie's character either - a real brat!

  2. Billie Letts is a hit or miss author for me. I loved The Honk and Holler Opening Soon, but was rather ambivalent about Where the Heart Is. I have this one sitting on my shelf untouched. Thanks for the honest review; I'm sure I'll get around to it eventually, but I'll keep my expectations low.