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Where the Heart is
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Where the Heart is

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  201,256 Ratings  ·  2,987 Reviews
This Oprah pick is the hilarious tale of teenager Novalee Nation, who sets out for a new life in California but finds herself stranded and pregnant in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Oklahoma. The eccentric inhabitants of the town -- including Sam Walton, the late owner of Wal-Mart -- pitch in to take care of Novalee in their own unusual ways. Read by Susie Breck. (Oprah's Book ...more
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published February 1st 1999 by Perfection Learning (first published January 1st 1995)
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Molly I wouldn't think it would be appropriate for a 13 year old. There is sex, violence, drugs, alcoholism, prison violence etc.
Ro Hart The Bean Trees and Pigs In Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Brina
Mar 10, 2016 Brina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, rereads
I read Billie Letts' story of Novalee and Americus Nation back in high school when it was featured on Oprah's book club. I recently saw this reviewed on a friend's page (thank you, Deanna) and felt like is was time for a reread.
Novalee Nation is 17 and pregnant when she is abandoned by her boyfriend Wily Jack at a Walmart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma. Wily Jack had promised Novalee a house in California but on the spot decided he could not deal with impending fatherhood and left her for nothing. Noval
...more
Deanna
I loved this book!!! I can't believe I forgot to update and review it here. Sometimes I know I've read a book years ago but can't remember a lot about it. However, that is not the case with this book. I read it in 1999 when I was pregnant with my daughter. It seems like yesterday. It is so well written and such a wonderful book that remains with me all these years later.

The main character Novalee Nation a 17 year old who is abandoned by her boyfriend and who gives birth to a baby girl in a Wal-
...more
Lindsey
Jan 12, 2009 Lindsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ya'll, this is the sweetest book in the history of books! I read this one in high school, right before the movie with Natalie Portman came out. That turned out to be a bad idea, because the whole time I was in the theater I was analyzing how the book and the movie differed.

Where the Heart Is tells the story of Novalee Nation, a pregnant teenager who's abandoned by her skank boyfriend in an unfamiliar Walmart. Novalee seems to charm everyone she meets, but she is naive at times and learns the ha
...more
Emily
Aug 05, 2008 Emily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a colassal waste of time...i'm giving this book the finger as we speak.
karla
Dec 26, 2008 karla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i loved this book. i have read many reviews by people that don't and the words "white trash" were always in there somewhere... they couldn't enjoy a book about a "white trash" heroine. i think that it's easy to judge, easy to devalue something because of personal prejudice... but if you've ever been in, known someone, or just heard about another human being in any of the situations resting in these pages, you can see the plain truth of it and it's beauty.
Hayley
Oct 06, 2007 Hayley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in high school and it sparked an interest in reading that was pretty much non-existent until then. Thanks Miss Illingworth! I also saw this movie, and although it was cute, I am much more connected to Letts's fabulous characters as they were described on paper. She has a true gift of making you connect with the people in her stories. Their "real-ness" is something to be applauded.
Marnie
Feb 14, 2008 Marnie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
This book was horrible, if I could give it half a star I would. It's really unrealistic, if someone was living in a Wal Mart in real life, they'd be arrested, not given a job. And I thought Forney was a complete loser & Novalee was dumb to be so attracted to him, & I think the author had way too much fun thinking of ways that God could punish Willy Jack, the loser father of the baby, because all these horrible things happen to him. It makes teenage motherhood look glamorous & sends t ...more
HeavyReader
Nov 24, 2011 HeavyReader rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book was pretty much a worthless piece of fluff. Anything this book does, any Barbara Kingsolver book will do about 2000 times better. This book is right on the border of dreadful.

I must have gotten this book out of the trash. I hope I didn't pay even 20 cents for it at the Social Services League. Maybe I got it on $5 bag day at the Friends of the Library book sale. All I can say is that any amount I paid for this book was TOO MUCH!

I read it when I was on a trip to visit Cassidy. I read it
...more
Brooke
Jun 03, 2015 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
Having seen the movie several times I already really knew this story. This book came out when I was only 5 years old and it is crazy that it has taken me this long to pick it up.

I enjoyed it for the most part! The book gives a lot more detail character wise than the movie which was nice on occasion, but I thought the movie did a good job editing the characters especially Willy Jack; there was some unneeded scenes with him.

Having said that this story is filled with great side characters. Moses
...more
Karina Almeroth
One of my all-time fav books. The first time I read it, I bought it from the bookstore at Indro shopping centre (before it closed down...sigh!!) one Saturday afternoon with my ex husband (husband at the time...another sigh!), then went home, went to bed, didn't sleep that night and read it all in one sitting. I was blown away by it then, and even named my daughter after one of the characters (Cherry).

Rereading it now, it hasn't lost any of its power and beauty. I find it's really a book about th
...more
Eve
Apr 02, 2012 Eve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, read-2012
Have you ever been so "daw-gone" tired, that you're visualizing the comfort of your solitary bed? That warm down comforter. Your plush pillows. You keep pumping yourself up with the thought that you're nearly home. You've finally made it. You want to ensure that you really enjoy your night's rest, so even though you can hardly move, you go through your nightly hot shower ritual. Finally, you settle into bed, turn out the lights. All is quiet save for the steady breathing of your furry friends, a ...more
Siobhan Colley
Mar 17, 2011 Siobhan Colley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was introduced to this book since i watched the film first, and thought it was beautiful. This book didn't dissapoint me, it had beauty and love. Some may say its unbelivable or incourages teenage pregancy, since all ends well. But i don't believe thats true this book is about the good and bad in life, how sometimes a bad situation that looks like it will never get better, can be the begginning. A start to someones history, a start to someones life, a chance to become someone new. I related to ...more
Heather Victoria
May 09, 2011 Heather Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a very easy read. A very good story. Of course considering I've seen the movie 1000 times the whole way through it I was comparing the two. Of course the movie didn't have all the personal relationships Novalee gains but as a whole the movie kept the same story. The movie just mixed the events up.
Rebecca
Jun 08, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The upbeat side of tragedy comes through at every turn and the reader is pleasantly left with the optimism that good will prevail. A joy to read and emotionally satisfing along the way.
Suzanne
Aug 07, 2014 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't review at the time of reading, unfortunately, but loved this story. Heartwarming and we saw the good side of human nature in the end.
Catherine
Dec 12, 2015 Catherine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, the only thing I enjoyed about this book was that it was an easy read, which made the process of finishing it quick and slightly less painful. Only slightly, though, because this book was pretty much a waste of my time. I got nothing out of this story whatsoever. Novalee is the least inspiring protagonist I've ever had to follow, and the breaks to Willy Jack's story line came as a relief, despite the fact that he's meant to be a secondary character.

I don't understand the choice to mak
...more
Christine
First, let me start off by saying this book was made into a movie (starring Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd) in 2000. It is one of those feel good flicks (you know the type, the kind that plays on Lifetime) and I saw it a few years ago. I'm one of those people who prefers to read a book prior to watching the movie adaptation, because I like to visualize the characters and scenes myself. There is a certain thrill of a story unfolding on a page vs. a movie screen (and the book is almost always mor ...more
Rachel
May 12, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where the Heart Is is a story about a 17-year old pregnant girl called Novallee on a road trip to California from her home in Tennessee with her boyfriend, hoping to find a happy home with her boyfriend working on the railroads. Never has Novallee ever lived in a house and she wants to make sure that her baby grows up in the best environment that she can create. Novallee keeps a journal full of magazine pictures of houses and she looks through them, imagining her dream house in her head. But get ...more
Beth
Jul 27, 2008 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is an Oprah recommended book which is why I began it. I didn't finish it --- a rare thing for me, but really, I couldn't spend any more time with the naive, starry-eyed, po' white trash heroine. She's 17, pregnant, and has been abandoned at a Walmart by her do-wrong boyfriend. When she gets her hands on some money the first thing she does is turn it over to her mother who abandoned her when she was nine (or something). Loser Mom read about her daughter in the paper because daughter had her ...more
Jamie
Mar 06, 2009 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick, cute, easy read. It seems that this is a love/hate book. Don't read it expecting some great piece of high-minded literature. Take it for what it is - a feel good story about growing and changing.

Novalee Nation matures throughout the book because of the people she meets in her new home. Where the Heart is is a book about the journey that you take as you grow up.
Jessica
Oct 01, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ahhhh such a great feel-good book, but NOT, at the same time. Novalee definitely has experienced her share of heartbreak and sadness, but she trucks on and always comes out okay on the other side. I have always loved this movie and the book was wonderful as well! I was happy to see that the movie followed very closely with the book.
Noor
Nov 11, 2015 Noor rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book over all, but I was expecting a lot more from it. The characters were really cool but I did not like the protagonist. I thought she was too complacent and lacked the strength that most chic-lit protagonists have. She was naive, and extremely hard on herself which made her slightly annoying to read about. However, I liked the way they show her development from someone who needs constant support to someone who is a source of comfort to her friends in time of need.

The cast of ch
...more
Stacey
Feb 08, 2012 Stacey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit my review is a little skewed as I had seen the movie several times before ever reading this book. I think that made the book a little less exciting, hence the 3 stars. I did however enjoy reading it and noting all the differences between the book and the movie. I think that I like the book better, as usual. I still found it satisfactory enough that I read it quite quickly, by my standards. It only took me about a week to complete. I was disappointed that the book seemed like it would be ...more
Melissa
Mar 18, 2016 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-and-movies
A quick re-read for an SRC task.

A very sweet story about a teenager discarded by those who should care for her (parents, boyfriend who is the father of her baby, etc). Instead, Novalee makes a family for herself out of the misfits in a small Oklahoma town. The setting feels very nailed into the Oklahoma landscape in a way that The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend does not. I originally picked this up in undergrad because the hook - pregnant Novalee somehow manages to live inside the Wal-Mart w
...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Great book. I read it in 4 hours and spent most of that time crying. Definitely a book that stays with you and warms your heart. The movie version was actually pretty darn faithful but doesn't take the place of this gem.
Jennifer DeLucy
Aug 07, 2008 Jennifer DeLucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure why, but this one always appealed to me. Something about the idea of surviving in a Walmart...just intrigues me.
Ayesha Hadi
Where the Heart Is was a very different read. The author grabbed your attention right at the beginning of the book by telling us about a young teenager who is pregnant and left stranded at a Walmart in a small town. Although the story had sounded very interesting, throughout the novel I felt very lost and at times I had to re-read sections of the book to really understand what the author was trying to say.

The characters in the book were very enlightening and they all had great qualities to them.
...more
Thaarane Sethunathan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mughees Ahmad
I thought that this book was ALRIGHT. It wasn't the best book ever, but it wasn't the worst book ever. There were highs and lows, from the highs being the giant cast of characters, with new characters being introduced in almost every other paragraph. The characters personalities being shaped and solidified with only one or two exchanges of dialogue, I thought that was really cool, but that was about all I thought of it.

The characters themselves were extremely profound and had very good chemistr
...more
Brandon
Jul 02, 2013 Brandon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
What may appear as fluff and cheap chick lit is a masterful account of the ebb and tide of love, while there are saccharine notes there are some hard hitting truths exposed within the pages. What would happen if Romeo and Juliet survived? A young ingénue is abandoned by her paramour to face the teenage pregnancy which has become a tell of their union. Set amidst a trailer park and a Walmart in the heartland of America these motifs are indictments of the truth of the American dream and offer a st ...more
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Is the book just as good as the movie? 3 23 Mar 09, 2015 04:39PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts 4 30 Jan 06, 2015 04:10PM  
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Billie Letts (born in Tulsa, Oklahoma) is an American author. Earlier she worked as a professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She was married to Dennis Letts until his death in 2008, and is the mother of playwright and actor Tracy Letts and jazz musician and composer Shawn Letts.
More about Billie Letts...

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“...tell them that we have some good in us, too. And the only thing worth living for is the good. That’s why we’ve got to make sure we pass it on.” 78 likes
“Then tell them we've all got meanness in us...But tell them we have some good in us too. And the only thing worth living for is the good. That's why we've got to make sure we pass it on.” 64 likes
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