As many of you may know, I am no longer a New Yorker, so please check out my new blog A Library of My Own. If you are just reading Life and Times, you are missing out. Thanks!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Made in the U.S.A. - Billie Letts

I recently read Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts after I read her book Shoot the Moon (my review). I won this book from Bookshipper in a huge 14 book giveaway from Hachette Books (my post on that). Isn't the cover gorgeous! And yes, catching fireflies does come up at some point in the book.

Anyway, the book was pretty good. I liked Shoot the Moon better but it does keep you engrossed and I finished it in about a day and a half.

Here's the plot:

Fifteen year-old Luttie and her brother eleven year-old brother Fate have a problem. Their mother died years ago. Their dad went to Vegas a year ago and left them with his ex-girlfriend, Floy, and they haven't heard from him since. Floy just keeled over from a heart attack at Walmart and child services just doesn't seem appealing.

What are two kids to do? Logical answer is to steal/borrow Floy's car, dig up as much cash as they can, and head to Vegas to find their father.

Uh oh.

Here's the thing. Luttie is not a very likeable character. From the very beginning she's a compulsive stealer. And she's bitter, rude, and selfish. Even to her little brother. But oh Fate is so adorable. He's one of those brilliant sweet kids who spout random facts and has no friends. Now these type of kids can either be annoying or cute...and he's the second type. So I kept rooting that they'd be ok.

But Vegas has a dark side. I know that because I lived there and saw it. And those parts of the book are just heart-wrenching. Be warned...violence, child pornography, and all those Vegas underbelly stuff. At one point I was almost angry at Billie Letts for not saving them "just don't write it and they'll be ok" or "where's their saving angel already!?!".

And then it gets better. And there's fireflies.

My only beef is that it sort of wraps up a little to quickly and nicely at the end...especially Luttie's story.

But it's still a pretty good story...especially since the book had me yelling at the author here and there!

**BIG NOTE: I will be giving away this hardback copy of Billie Letts novel along with a paperback copy of her novel Shoot the Moon. Comment on this review for an extra chance to win!


  1. The cover to this book is beautiful! It sounds heart wrenching... and a good book to read on a warm summer's day when all you want to do is read.

  2. I won a copy of this but I haven't started it yet. I just loved her Where the Heart Is so I have high hopes for this one. The heart-wrenching stuff is what is keeping me from reading it right now since I'm not really in the mood for that type of thing. Glad it has a good ending though :)

    No need to enter me for either giveaway since I have both books.

  3. Another WalMart - I'd be interested in knowing what significance WalMart has for Billie Letts. I do love the cover - I've eyed it up many a time in the bookstore. I enjoy her books so will likely be adding this to my to be read list.


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