Made in the USAI was introduced to Billie Letts by Oprah many years ago. Not formally introduced of course, wouldn't that be something? But I read Where The Heart Is and watched the author on Oprah. And I saw the movie because I not only loved the book but liked the pairing of Ashley Judd and Natalie Portman on the big screen. Here is a link to the trailer in case you never saw the film or need your memory refreshed.
Since then I've read all of Billie's novels which have been few and far between. Some authors bust out a book every year like clockwork. Not Billie. Since Where The Heart Is back in '96, she's written The Honk and Holler Opening Soon, Shoot the Moon and now Made in the USA.
Here is the premise of Made in the USA: Lutie 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 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. 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. source
I thought the book was fast paced, easy to read and enjoyable. Made in the USA provided me with a decent story, characters to root for an a happy ending. I kept imagining the book as a movie which will probably happen. Is Dakota Fanning available?