Made in the U.S.A.

Made in the U.S.A.

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Overview

Luttie 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 Luttie lives in the god-forsaken town of Yankton, South Dakota with her nine-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 USA 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781600242076
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication date: 06/19/2008
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.50(d)

About 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.

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Made in the U.S.A. 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 71 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading 'Made in the USA' and put it on the same pedestal as 'Where the Heart Is.' I have always found her books interesting and on a level that most people can relate to and enjoy. All of Ms. Letts' books have been very enjoyable! I've lived in Oklahoma all my life but have never been to Hugo however, it is now on my list of places to go--especially to the cemetery!
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am not a reader. I have about a dozen half read books at home. Got this one for a road trip and could not put it down. hate to admit I related to the story a little bit. The author describes the characters so well I felt like I knew them. I wanted to live with the circus family. But I have no intentions of visiting Vegas. :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
faith42love on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story was full of adventure, almost like every chapter was a new escaped building up to the final tumult. Lettes truly makes Lutie and Fate come alive, you quickly care about what happens to them and hope for the best. It is a very heart-warming story of family, choices and how sometimes you can find security in the most surprising of places.
suebell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was the first of book written by Billie Letts that I've read. It won't be the last.I couldn't stop reading once I stated becase I was "trapped" in Lutie & Fate's world. I cried, I laughed and I think I might have even threw the book (which I NEVER do, cause you know, it's a book and they should be respected). I was exhausted after living in Lutie's world for the 9 hours it took me to read this book.This book was so detailed, you were running from the cops, you were living on the streets in Las Vegas, you were trying to scrape and /or con your way into being able to eat that day, right along with Lutie & Fate.At first I found Lutie to be a very unlikable 15 year old girl, then I remembered, oh yeah, 15 year old girls are usually unlikable. But this book also showed that when they have to be, kids can & will be resilient. They will make their way through situations that will make any parent shudder.Read it, you won't be disappointed
jo-jo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As I started reading Made in the U.S.A, I couldn't help but let a smile cross my face as another tramatic event takes place in the local Wal-mart store. I love how she always seems to weave the Wal-mart stores into her stories. Even though the store has a very small appearance, it really sets off a chain of events that will change Lutie and Fate's lives forever. Lutie and Fate are a brother and sister that have not had the opportunity to live a life full of love and family. After their mother died years ago, their father seemed to hook up with any single gal that would take him and his two children in, knowing that she would be there to take care of them so he could drink himself into a stupor. One day when their father doesn't return, it isn't much longer until they realize that he is not coming home at all.When life-changing events take place, Lutie decides that the only thing left for her and Fate to do is to find their father so he can take care of them. Their quest takes them to the streets of Las Vegas, which as you can imagine is not the best place for a couple of young kids with no home or money to spend any time. They find themselves living out of a car and Lutie is doing all that she can to save money to get themselves a reasonable apartment so Fate can at least be enrolled in a decent school. What she is earning is not enough, and she finds herself having to resort to unimaginable jobs to make the money that is needed.As Lutie and Fate seem to be just getting by day after day, it appears that they have a secret guardian angel that enjoys leaving them little gifts that are greatly appreciated. When events take a turn for the worst, their guardian angel comes to their rescue, and while revealing his identity he also saves them from imminent danger. In the process of saving the children, in a way they are also saving him. I love how he needed these children to heal his wounds as much as they needed him to heal theirs.Although I throughly enjoyed this novel, there were pieces that were definitely hard to read. The hardest part of this book for me was watching these children live in a way that didn't allow them to be children. With themes of abandonment, growing up, forgiveness, and love, this book will stay in my memory for quite some time. I feel that I should warn you that there is some offensive language in these pages, but the story itself is well worth the read.
knitbusy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There are times I read a book and it makes me profoundly grateful for the relatively blessed life that I experienced during my journey to adulthood. This is certainly one of those books!Made in the USA is the harrowing, but stirring story of Lutie and Fate: a 15 year old girl and her 11 year brother, who find themselves unexpectedly orphaned and homeless. Fear of the foster care system sends the siblings on a cross country trip to Las Vegas, where Lutie is certain that she can find a way to take care of them on her own. Lutie and Fate experience humanity at it's best and worst as they struggle to survive with limited resources and at the mercy of those who seem to take what they want without conscience. At first, this was a difficult read for me. Initially, I didn't really like Lutie as she reminded me of a lot of the foul-mouthed and skanky teenage girls I seem to see everywhere these days. However, through the course of the novel I came to appreciate the depth of her character. From the first, I fell in love with Fate and his precocious nature. After I found myself really caring about the characters, the novel was suddenly a more difficult read. Letts never seems to shrink in describing the challenges faced by teenage runaways and homeless individuals. There were times I just didn't think I could handle any additional tragedy. However, I couldn't put the book down. I had to find out what happened! I'm glad I stuck with it. I don't want to give any plot details away, so let me just say that the book is not one which will leave you feeling hopeless and discouraged. I really enjoyed this book, and would like to express my gratitude to Valerie at Hachette books for providing me with a review copy. It was truly a pleasure to read this book.
LaBibliophille on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was OK. I really didn't love it. It seemed sort of promising-a story about 2 orphaned children trying to make their way in the world. It was, of course, sort of bleak and dismal. But the ending seemed sort of contrived. I mean-a circus? Give me a break!
nycbookgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 sooner...like "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!
mawshimp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lutie and Fate - what names! These two love each other fiercely! When they get to Vegas they are both worrying and looking out for each other. Lutie wants to send Fate to a good school and Fate wants Lutie to be safe and happy. But living on the streets of Las Vegas makes both of those desires incredibly difficult to achieve! As a mom, I just wanted to scoop these two up, bring them in the house and take care of them. I cried with them, worried over them, shook my head at their choices. There is an anonymous 'guardian angel' who adopts them when they first arrive in Vegas. It's interesting to see how he helps just by having experience living on the streets. Which you know means he has his own issues. So when we finally meet him, it's with trepidation, worry and wonder. This is a great book. Excellent characters, interesting story and a quick read.
dara85 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is not for the faint of heart. I think the things Lutie did or had to do as a homeless, underage, uneducated teen trying to support herself and her brother was very realistic. Once again, Billie Letts has written a wonderful story. I have loved every one of her books and I loved this one too.
milibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sixteen-year-old Lutie and her 11-year-old brother Fate seem to have lost everything when their father's ex-girlfriend suddenly dies in a South Dakota Wal-Mart. Their mother has been dead for 10 years and no one has heard from their father since he left for Las Vegas. To avoid Child Protective Services and foster care, they run away to Vegas to search for their father only to find that he died in prison. At first Lutie's con schemes and shoplifting seem like fun in an exotic town, but the hopelessness and despair of homelessness soons claims them as victims. Can a tough street-smart girl and a smart, but too old for his age, boy find friends, family and a place to call home? Can they learn to enjoy life without ever having been allowed to be children? In the process, can they also teach others to forgive?
litelady-ajh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Probably should have given this a higher rating, but the subject matter (homeless children) is just not something I enjoy reading about, whether there is a happy ending or not.
Otherwise, this author has really done her homework & it was a good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ToReadPerchancetoDream More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoy Billie Letts and her characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a huuuge fan of Billie Letts. I've read all of her books and loved them all, but this one ties with Where the Heart Is as my favorite. It was darker and grittier than her other books but was so heartwarming and beautiful at the same time. Would highly recommend this book. I never wanted it to end and I know the characters will stick with me for a long time to come.
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krazyangel More than 1 year ago
Just finish this book. It was better than I thought it was going to be. Going to go see what I can read next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago