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.
Made in the U.S.A. is the alternately heartbreaking and life-affirming story of two gutsy children who must discover how cruel, unfair, and frightening the world is before they can come to a place they can finally call home.
©2008 Billie Letts; (P)2008 Hachette Audio
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Morris does a great job in the first 2/3 of the story with the voices of Lutie, Fate, and all the folks they meet along the way, but the action pivots for the final section, making the overall work into two clumsily grafted stories; I'll leave it at that for spoiler reasons.
I listened through that final part to find out what happens to the kids, but they become essentially a background, subplot to another story. That section concerned a Mexican-American family, who had been in the States for a long time, but were read as having very heavy accents, sounding more Italian (or I suppose Argentinean) than Mexican to me! I considered putting away the audio, and reading it to finish off the book, but my library has a long reserve list for the print version.
The book itself won't please everyone: folks who like the final part, which I found somewhat sappy, would likely find the second section too "graphic" (Letts does pile it on a bit thick with misfortunes).
Not sorry I got the book, but I highly doubt I'd read another Letts, but I do recommend Morris' narration of "Elsewhere"!
"Startlingly hauntingly real regarding abuse and redemption"
Child neglect and abuse are ugly. Letts writes realistically yet pulls back allowing the listener breathing room knowing the horrific cost to children when innocence is stolen without going into too many details. I wish more were to read/listen to this not so fictionalized result of debauchery. The redemptive value of how love with patience can heal is also well told. Loving families are safe. That is, love of the unconditional kind.
"Billie Letts doesn't disappoint!"
Ever since Where the Heart Is, I have been in love with Billie Letts books, and this one did not disappoint. The narrator did a nice job, until she had to do a mexican accent...it sounded more like a mix between a middle eastern accent and an italian accent.
Billie Letts did go outside the box of her typical writing, but I don't want to spoil anything. For anybody who has read her other books, there's a good chance you will enjoy this book as well.
Great story but be prepared for way too much vulgarity, crudity, and profanity. I think it would have been better and could have told just as well without so much.
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