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Made in the U.S.A.

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  6,677 ratings  ·  900 reviews
Lutie McFee's history has taught her to avoid 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 Lutie lives in the god-forsaken town of Spearfish, South Dakota with her twelve-year-old brother, Fate, and Floy Satterfield, the 300-pound ex-girlfriend of her father. W ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 355 pages
Published June 19th 2008 by Grand Central Publishing (first published June 19th 2005)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,677 ratings  ·  900 reviews

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Sep 09, 2008 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Connie G
"Made in the USA" is a story of how two children who need a family find a home in an unlikely place. Fifteen-year-old Lutie and eleven-year-old Fate live in South Dakota with their father's ex-girlfriend, Floy. Their mother had died when they were young, and their alcoholic father had skipped town, heading for Las Vegas. Floy has a heart attack and dies, leaving the kids without a family. They don't want to be sent into the state foster care system, so they head for Vegas in Floy's old car to lo ...more
Feb 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 24, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Dec 27, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.

May 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, reviewed

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
Aug 08, 2011 rated it liked it
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
May 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 25, 2012 added it
Shelves: letts-billie
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
May 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
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 birth
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I almost stopped reading this during part 2, it was SO sad. I couldn't bare for any more terrible things to happen to these poor children. But just in the nick of time, Billie Letts brings back the hope and the story turns around. Some ideas in part 3 seem a bit unbelievable, but I don't really know much about that sort of life, so it could be factual. Well written and easy to read, just not as good as Where the Heart is.
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
An alternately heartbreaking and life-affirming story of two gutsy siblings who must discover how cruel, unfair and frightening the world is before they come to a place they can finally call home.
Readers will immediately be drawn into the story by Lutie's feisty personality as well as the adventure, and ultimate hardship of living by your wits. I recommend this story to those who enjoy gutsy protagonists, gritty plotlines, and happy endings.
Aug 14, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Win a copy of Made in the USA on my blog:

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
Dec 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Nancy H
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent story of what happens to a young teen and her little brother when their step-mother suddenly dies in a store, leaving them orphaned. They think their father may be alive in Las Vegas, so they go on a hair-raising trip there to find him, but sadly, they immediately find out that he has died on the same day as their step-mother. In order to stay alive, they have to resort to all kinds of unsavory activities, but there is a secret watcher, who is looking out for them. This is a ...more
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 .
Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked this book, but not as much as some of Billie Letts other novels. I sort of found Luttie annoying, but it is a good coming of age story and about learning lessons the hard way. I did like the ending and the theme that just because you don't share blood doesn't not make you family.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, chick-lit
Another book I picked up in a give-away (this time, a friend's give-away). Letts' Where the Heart Is is a long-time favorite of mine, so I expected to love this book. However, the main character, Lutie, is extremely unlikeable. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt, because she's a troubled 15-year-old, but it's difficult to warm up to her. Also, there is a very large portion of this book that is quite dark and disturbing, which I wasn't expecting. And I found the whole circus story line ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, comedy-humor
Another wonderful story by Billie Letts. Letts has an exceptional ability to put humor into tragedy and heartache. One minute I was laughing and the next minute feeling tearful. This story, just like her others, was captivating from the first page and a very fast read. Great characters, solid story and an old-fashioned feel good ending. Would make a good book discussion book. 4 solid stars
Jul 10, 2010 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.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Billie Letts gives her characters a real feel and a wonderful voice. One of my favorite writers and this one doesn't disappoint.
Apr 21, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Barrie Gardner
Jun 06, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelly Tarr
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Cindy Bokma
Jul 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
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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

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