Genre: Adult Fiction, Coming of Age
Reading Challenges: 20 for 100+ in 2009
There are times I read a book and it makes me profoundly grateful for the relatively blessed life that I experienced during my journey to adulthood. This is certainly one of those books!
Made in the USA is the harrowing, but stirring story of Lutie and Fate: a 15 year old girl and her 11 year brother, who find themselves unexpectedly orphaned and homeless. Fear of the foster care system sends the siblings on a cross country trip to Las Vegas, where Lutie is certain that she can find a way to take care of them on her own. Lutie and Fate experience humanity at it's best and worst as they struggle to survive with limited resources and at the mercy of those who seem to take what they want without conscience.
At first, this was a difficult read for me. Initially, I didn't really like Lutie as she reminded me of a lot of the foul-mouthed and skanky teenage girls I seem to see everywhere these days. However, through the course of the novel I came to appreciate the depth of her character. From the first, I fell in love with Fate and his precocious nature. After I found myself really caring about the characters, the novel was suddenly a more difficult read. Letts never seems to shrink in describing the challenges faced by teenage runaways and homeless individuals. There were times I just didn't think I could handle any additional tragedy. However, I couldn't put the book down. I had to find out what happened! I'm glad I stuck with it.
I don't want to give any plot details away, so let me just say that the book is not one which will leave you feeling hopeless and discouraged. I really enjoyed this book, and would like to express my gratitude to Valerie at Hachette books for providing me with a review copy. It was truly a pleasure to read this book.