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Where the Heart Is
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Where the Heart Is

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  186,939 ratings  ·  2,744 reviews
Talk about unlucky sevens. An hour ago, seventeen-year-old, seven months pregnant Novalee Nation was heading for California with her boyfriend. Now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But Novalee is about to discover hidden treasures in this small Southwest town--a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people willing t ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published June 1st 1998 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 1995)
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Heather Hi Laurie! Goodreads is really good at suggesting books similar to the title. If you click into the book details, goodreads shows you books from…moreHi Laurie! Goodreads is really good at suggesting books similar to the title. If you click into the book details, goodreads shows you books from people who have read this book, books that are in the same category, and other books by the same author. But some books I could recommend are; Jewel by Bret Lott or Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio. (less)
Molly I wouldn't think it would be appropriate for a 13 year old. There is sex, violence, drugs, alcoholism, prison violence etc.
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The BOOK was BETTER than the MOVIE
62nd out of 1,312 books — 17,467 voters
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Oprah's Book Club Picks
8th out of 75 books — 1,287 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
What a colassal waste of time...i'm giving this book the finger as we speak.
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.
Feb 14, 2008 Marnie rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
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.
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
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
Siobhan Colley
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
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
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.
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
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
The story was pretty good at first, but after I was done with half of it I had to force my self to read the rest. It was so unrealistic. Walmart is depicted as some sort of haven for troubled souls which indicates that this book would have to have been written by an American.

It was a little too predictable. Some authors can carry off nutty characters but Billie Letts didn't convince me with the people in this story. Novalee Nation is just a little too perfect in her abandonment. Just a little t
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-
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
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
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.
 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.
Kim 'BookAddict'
This book had a very Beautiful story. It also had a really nice set of characters. I liked all of them. However, I felt that the plot didn't Always flow, and there were big time gaps. I liked the fact that we got to follow the characters throughout a long period of time, so that we got a bit of character development. But I do wish that the relationship forming between the characters had been more detailed. The time gaps sometimes made it confusing. I also would have liked to seen a Little bit mo ...more
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
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
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Mar 13, 2009 Sabrina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Sabrina by: teacher and friend
This book is so great to read if you like action. I would recommend this book to men and women and also young adults. This book is about a girl who is 17, 7 months pregnant and has hardly any money. One day her and her boyfriend are going somewhere. She realizes that she has lost her shoes and she has had to pee for a long time. He takes her to Walmart and he leaves her. She has to stay at Walmart for a while because she has no where else to go. she meets this man named Forney and he works at th ...more
This shameless promotion for Wal-Mart, I mean, novel is filled with clumsy writing, a jumpy plot, and a God awful names. The name Novalee isn’t so grating, but she names her daughter Americus. Americus Nation. Novalee is your stereotypical heroine - innocent, unsuspecting, perfect. The only two characters I did like were Sister Husband because she’s the comedic relief in Where the Heart Is and Moses Whitecotten, an older gentleman who teaches Novalee about photography and life in general.

The oth
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, and even though some of the subject matter was a little heavy, for the most part this was a light-hearted book. When the subject matter was heavier, I thought the author did a wonderful job writing about those subjects without making anything feel forced or sappy.

I read some of the other reviews on goodreads that said people couldn't stand how naive Novalee was. I think that was the whole point of the book. She did make some stupid decisions becau
I'm going to be honest: I saw the movie years ago, and I absolutely loved it. I watched it countless times with my sister, laughing and crying over Novalee and Americus, Sister Husband and Forney and Lexie. But somehow it had escaped my notice that it was based on a book, and it wasn't until years later that I read it on a recommendation from a good friend. I read it in less than 24 hours. It's not the most well-written book, a little cliched at times and underdeveloped with its characters, but ...more
This is a book that somehow keeps making you feel good on one level while bad things happen. It is ultimately a very positive book. I think that is because of protagonist Novalee Nation's spirit. She is not educated but she is genuine and she is full of love and a quiet, unassuming wisdom. She is not superhuman, she does not win the lottery (literally or figuratively) but she starts with nothing and wins at life. She represents something deep and true.

Amidst difficulty and hardship, Novalee has
Thaarane Sethunathan
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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.
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
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Is the book just as good as the movie? 3 18 Mar 09, 2015 04:39PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts 4 29 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.
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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.” 75 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.” 61 likes
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