Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts
Lutie McFee and her brother Fate live with a woman who their dad used to live with, but their dad left over a year ago. When the woman drops dead, Lutie and Fate have no one. All they know is that their dad was in Las Vegas. Lutie decides to go there to find him, her brother wants to go along. Lutie is only fifteen. She does not have a driver’s license, but she takes the car the woman drove and heads to Las Vegas.
The siblings are met with disappointment when they go to the hotel where their dad was staying. They get some help trying to find out where he is at, only to find he’s been to prison and that he died. What are Lutie and Fate supposed to do now?
Lutie meets a shady character who helps her get fake ids so she can work, but he also wants something else from Lutie. He works in a rather seedy business involving young women. Lutie tries to provide for Fate as best as she can, but they spend most of their nights sleeping in the car and eating at a local shelter. Fate just wants to go to school and be a normal eleven-year old. Lutie soon gets dragged into drugs and alcohol. Things happen to Lutie that aren’t great. Throughout this all, they’ve had a guardian watching over them. One night they find out who he is.
This guardian helps them out and takes them on another journey to somewhere entirely different and their lives are about to change.
What I liked
I really like anything by Billie Letts and this book is no exception. Lutie and Fate have an epic journey that takes them through a whole lot of emotion. They end up on the very bottom. They scrap by in an existence most of us would hate, but some of us are semi-familiar with. Stories where someone is on bottom and makes their way up to something are inspiring.
Billie’s stories always seem to end up in Oklahoma. I have a good amount of family there. It’s one of those lands that has many stories.
What I didn’t like
It’s so sad that kids end up on the streets. I feel really bad for Lutie and Fate. While we may read something like this book and think that something like this wouldn’t happen, it does happen. It happens all the time. Kids end up on the street. Kids end up making pornography. Kids end up on drugs. Kids can end up like that because they have nobody else.
It’s got to be awfully lonely to have nobody. I have to wonder if Billie was ever in this type of situation herself as she has written about multiple people who are flat-out down and out, with nothing, and nobody. They have to start from scratch.
Lutie really seems like a brat a lot of the time.
Another great book from Billie.
Could you survive living on the streets?
Do you think we forget people without homes?