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Made in the U.S.A.

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,410 Ratings  ·  786 Reviews
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. Whi ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 19th 2008 by Grand Central Publishing (first published June 19th 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Karen
Sep 16, 2008 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When I really like a book, I tend to read everything by that author, with mixed results. (John Irving, usually great. Augusten Burroughs, not so much so.) I loved The Honk and Holler Opening Soon, and liked Where the Heart Is. But Made in the USA was a disappointment, with an extremely unlikeable main character and an implausible (given the characters' previous behaviors) and rushed ending.
Cindy
Feb 22, 2009 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-read
This book hooked me from the first page. I had to keep reading to make sure everything turned out well for the two orphaned kids! The brother and sister, Lutie (15) and Fate (11), have seen their fair share of misery in their short lives. The book begins when their caretaker, who is the ex-girlfriend of their father, dies in WalMart of a heart attack and the children take her car rather than be put into foster care. First problem, Lutie is only 15, doesn't have her driver's license, and really d ...more
Michele Drummond
I've only read one other book by Letts and it was Where the Heart Is. Unfortunately, the two are extremely similar. It was a quick, enjoyable read for the summer. It only took me two days to finish it. It was one of those stories where the main character keeps acting the way you don't want them to. Sometimes it's hard to root for this character when time and again they fail. I guess without these flaws there wouldn't be a story-line. However, I wish the viewpoint of the book was written by the 1 ...more
Anye
Dec 27, 2009 Anye rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christy
Oct 31, 2008 Christy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ms. Letts is a master at telling stories that will have you laughing out loud one minute and have your heart breaking the next. Filled with vivid descriptions and realistic characters, this book runs the gamut from sadness and horrific situations to hope, redemption and acceptance. Even though I found this hard to read at times, MADE IN THE U.S.A. is a wonderful story that touched my heart.

MissSusie
May 19, 2010 MissSusie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, audio


First off I was expecting southern fiction, which this wasn’t and it was much grittier than I expected it to be.
Lutie is not a very likeable character and it doesn’t get any better as things progress. Her brother Fate makes this book, he is precocious and adorable, wise beyond his years yet sweet and optimistic. I also liked the Vargas Family storyline.

This book is about two young children whose mother is dead their father has left them with a girlfriend who dies in Walmart (no spoilers its righ
...more
Bill
May 26, 2010 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
May 04, 2009 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had a very hard time deciding whether to give this book two or three stars, but the farther I get away from this book, the more I realize how dreadful it was.

I haven't read _The Honk & Holler Opening Soon_, but I've read all her others, and I really wish Billie Letts had stopped with _Where the Heart Is_. I loved that book and I still think it's an amazing read. Now Letts has reduced herself to sterotypical characters, incredibly predictable plots, and a storyline formula. Instead of a bi
...more
Kandice
I have loved every Billie Letts books I've read. I enjoy her sons plays just as much and am very glad she passed the writing "bug" on with her genes. This books, while told in the charming Letts way, left me unsatisfied.

The story opens with the death of 15 year old Lutie and 11 year old Fate's stepmother in a Wal-Mart. She's their stepmother in the broadest sense of the term since she has never married their father who left them with her and hasn't been heard from since. Fearing the foster syste
...more
Amy
Jun 16, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Win a copy of Made in the USA on my blog: http://fibrofoggy.blogspot.com/2009/0...

Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts kept me up past my bedtime, which is a good indication for me of how good a book is. Lutie and her brother Fale pulled at my heartstrings with their tragic story of loss, sacrifice, and truly tough times. 11 year old Fale was my favorite character in this book. His quirky love of learning facts about everything under the sun made me laugh. Even though he is younger than his sister
...more
Angie
Aug 19, 2011 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Diane
Shelves: fiction
Audio book -
Two discs in I thought to myself , " Oh Jesus ! This is going to be one of those books ! " Those equals the author has taken it upon themself to prove that Murphy's Law really does happen . Those equals the author has written about the most wronged , accident prone , bad lucked, somebody keeps shitting in their lunchbox character/s and the worst case scenarios for said character/s . THOSE equals I think to myself , " Oh Jesus ! This is going to be one of those books ! " , right bef
...more
Louise
Apr 10, 2009 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'll never forget Letts' first novel: "Where The Heart Is" and I doubt there are many people out there who haven't read it and fell in love with the characters. Well, Billie has returned with a heart tugging saga of two young children in search of a father and a place to call home.

Fifteen-year-old Lutie McFee and her twelve-year-old brother Fate, have been living with overweight 300 hundred pound Floy Satterfield, their father's ex-girlfriend, in her dumpy run-down home in the dead beat town of
...more
Erin
Mar 21, 2011 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adultfiction
Fifteen-year-old Lutie McFee and her eleven-year-old brother Fate have been raised by their father's 300-pound ex-girlfriend, Floy, ever since they were abandoned by him. In a split second, however, this changes when Floy drops dead in the local Wal-Mart. When presented with the option of ending up with social services, Lutie and Fate pack up and escape in Floy's truck in search of their father. Their destination: Las Vegas.

Once in Vegas, Lutie and Fate struggle to make ends meet and begin to lo
...more
Angela
Aug 20, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of brit lit and historical fiction
Recommended to Angela by: originally a book club pick and i read all in the series
This was a good but very sad book. It was hard to read about some of the choices the girl made as well as the danger she and her brother put themselves into. I am glad I read this book because it was well written about a difficult subject.
It reminds me of an older, more dangerous version of From the Mixed Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwalter by E.L. Konigsberg .
Margaret
How do I rate a book that I could not finish simply because the author dared to make me care so much for her characters that I couldn't bear to "watch" any more creulties befall them? How does one go about rating a book by an author who has proven her value to me with past works that have left me with a warm and feel good ending? Is it fair to rate a book I could not complete simply because I could not handle the dark subject matter? No, it isn't fair to give this one a rating at all.

Books I can
...more
Alice
Jul 10, 2010 Alice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of dark and gritty stories of redemption
Shelves: library, audio, 2010, literary
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bobbi
Sep 17, 2010 Bobbi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I really like Billie Letts' books. They're not great literature, just fun to read if you want something light. She also wrote Where the Heart Is and The Honk and Holler Opening Soon, both fun reads.

This one follows a brother and sister, Fate (whose name was supposed to be Fale, after his grandfather, but the person writing out his birth certificate crossed the l) and Lutie McFee, 11 and 15 respectively. They leave South Dakota suddenly when their father's girlfriend, Floy, with whom they've been
...more
Claudia
Dec 08, 2010 Claudia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this one...I liked these two wounded kids...Lutie and Fate (he should have been named Fale, after their mother's family, but someone at the hospital crossed the "L") are essentially dumped with an ex-girlfriend of their father when he decides to run away to Las Vegas. After another Letts Walmart moment, they find themselves on the run, afraid if they stay in Spearfish SD, they'll be sent to foster care. A road trip to Las Vegas has moments of humor and terror.

As does their stay in Las Ve
...more
Barrie Gardner
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jess
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew Trimboli
You can tell by this author's headshot that someone like her is in no way qualified to convincingly write about the true Las vegas underbelly and this isn't helped by her acknowledgements to "so and so at the whatever body art parlour for helping me understand what the fuck a tattoo and/or piercing is to begin with". So, in one word - lame.

HOWEVER, for some reason I can't stop reading it. I think I feel sorry for the little boy and want to find out what happens to him. Well, given they're just a
...more
Kelly Tarr
Jan 29, 2013 Kelly Tarr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was so glad that a friend on Goodreads rated this book (thanks Dana!) I really enjoyed it. So many emotions went into reading this book joy, sadness, empathy and hurt. It was very entertaining and hard to put down. Some of it was a bit out there but also with the job I do I have seen children hurting, lost and sad so I don't feel like it is that far from a possibility. Loved the characters , wished the main character was kinder to her brother the whole time but she didn't have any kind of posi ...more
SouthWestZippy
Jan 15, 2016 SouthWestZippy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Lutie McFee is fifteen and her brother Fate is eleven. Their Mother died and their Father leaves for Las Vegas leaving them behind with a ex girlfriend, Floy Satterfield. One day at Walmart while Lutie is busy shoplifting and Fate is playing on the computer in the electronics department, a crowed rushes to the front of the store. A woman has died, her name, Floy Satterfield. The kids make a life changing choice and run instead of becoming wards of the State.
They make horrible mistakes with thei
...more
Jenny Paullin
Jan 17, 2015 Jenny Paullin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nope.
Carol N
After having enjoyed reading two of this author's previous efforts, “Where the Heart Is” and “The Honk and Hollar Opening Soon,” I was looking forward to becoming involved in another good storyline. So. . . lets start by saying, this book doesn’t hold a candle to either of the above books or perhaps more simply put, Letts has lost her edge.

Ever since they were abandoned by their father, fifteen-year-old Lutie McFee and her eleven-year-old brother Fate have been raised by their father's ex-girlf
...more
Anne
Apr 16, 2015 Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A difficult story with episodes that leave me unable to pass the book on to younger family members. I don't want them reading about the dark truths of young people left to live on their own: drugs, rape, abuse, and exploitation. In an effort to protect her younger brother, Fate [supposed to have been named Fale (?), but someone crossed the "l" on his birth certificate], in Las Vegas, Lutie McFee succumbs to all. Lutie has been hurt and hardened and has learned to strike before she is struck. She ...more
Cindy Bokma
Sep 15, 2008 Cindy Bokma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it! An easy to read, fast paced, feel good kind of book with sweet characters and a happy ending. What more do you want from a novel? I was just in the mood for this kind of book and I read it within two days and was sorry to see it end.

I really enjoyed Where the Heart Is and I think Made in the USA has the same vibe.

Good job, Billie Letts!
Sheena
Oct 21, 2011 Sheena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book more than any of her others. Of course there are the requisite Walmart scenes showing up on the first pages but well, this the US and that store is a huge presence in many peoples's lives. I just had to keep reading to see how things turned out for these two kids with no safety net so I read it in a 24 hour period. I loved all the circus scenes and portrayal of the circus family as caring for their animals. A great read!
Martha
Wow, I hated this book. At several points, I had to re-read entire chapters, convinced that I had inadvertently skipped an important scene that would have made the improbable plot twists make sense. How, where, and when did 15-year-old runaway Lutie get the information about her father’s final whereabouts? That scene never appears in the book, although a chapter ends with Lutie’s dramatic announcement to her brother, Fate. Why does Juan, the mysterious stranger who helps Lutie and Fate, speak ri ...more
Jill
2 1/2 stars - neutral rating. This wasn't as good as Billie Letts' other books. Usually her characters are more believable. Lutie was too over-the-top. She's a 15-year-old girl, who lives with her 10-year-old brother Fate. Their mother died years ago, and their drunken father left them with his latest live-in girl friend. Then the girl-friend drops dead of a heart attack during a shopping trip at Walmart. Lutie runs away with Fate, stealing the girl-friend's car, and drives to Las Vegas to try t ...more
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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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