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Made in the U.S.A. Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 19, 2008


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, June 19, 2008
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"Man at the Helm" by Nina Stibbe
The first novel from a remarkably gifted writer with a voice all her own, "Man at the Helm" is a hilarious and occasionally heart-breaking portrait of childhood in an unconventional family. See more

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"Man at the Helm" by Nina Stibbe
The first novel from a remarkably gifted writer with a voice all her own, "Man at the Helm" is a hilarious and occasionally heart-breaking portrait of childhood in an unconventional family. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (June 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446505498
  • ASIN: B003STCNQE
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,280,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Letts's tale of two children who set out on a voyage to find their father after his hefty ex-girlfriend, the children's guardian, falls dead in a Wal-Mart, is a moving coming-of-age tale. Cassandra Morris is amazingly strong in her delivery, giving a tremendous performance in which her fresh voice is perfectly suited for 15-year old Lutie. Her reading is clear and well paced, and her habit of rushing her words at times serves as an endearing character trait; she can do no wrong here. Her performance is a genuine one that will move audiences with its honesty and passion. A Grand Central hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 28). (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—After the sudden death of Floy, her father's 300-pound girlfriend, 15-year-old Lutie McFee flees Spearfish, SD, with her 11-year-old brother, Fate. With only an apartment address to guide them, the siblings head toward Las Vegas in Floy's Pontiac, in search of the father they haven't seen or heard from in a year. Lutie's defiant personality lands the pair in a number of dangerous and precarious situations. However, her equally dominant determination drives her to do almost anything to protect her intellectual and withdrawn brother. When she is almost beaten to death during a robbery, a mysterious protector, Juan Vargas, comes to their aid. After getting medical treatment for her, Juan transports Lutie and Fate to his hometown in Hugo, OK. While Fate discovers a world of wonder and happiness, Lutie struggles to accept the support that is being offered to her. The ending, while unlikely, is satisfying and emotionally rewarding. Teens 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. Recommend this one to those who enjoy gutsy protagonists, gritty plotlines, and fairy-tale endings.—Lynn Rashid, Marriots Ridge High School, Marriotsville, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

The characters are very well developed and the plot full of surprises.
Joan D. Kruse
The whole thing just seemed very rushed and just way too far out there for me to feel and get into.
Sarah E. Butler
You will not get anything done for a few days because you will not be able to put this book down!
Ann Margaret

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Ann Margaret on June 6, 2008
Format: Audio CD
You will not get anything done for a few days because you will not be able to put this book down! You will get attached to these young characters who are trying to figure this adult world out alone. They make bad choices and you will be rooting for them page after page hoping someone will help them find their way. You won't be dissappointed. Just forget about the laundry for a few days. (and the dishes, homework, phone calls, husband, children) Just keep reading.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By BeachReader on July 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book was just "okay". I am still waiting for Letts to write another book as good as "The Honk and Holler Opening Soon" which I think was her best ever.

The first half of this book took place in Las Vegas and was pretty sleazy. Many of the things that happened there required a suspension of belief, something I do not readily do.

The book moved a little more easily once Letts returned to her familiar turf (Oklahoma). There was some interesting trivia about how a circus is run and what happens in the winter on its home grounds. But there was way too much coincidence for my liking.

I finished it because it was quick reading, but this will definitely not go down as my favorite Letts book. Also, the editing was very lax, something that annoys me a lot. But her husband died during this book's publication process, so perhaps her editor was being gentle....
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In Spearfish, South Dakota, with their mother long dead, the McFee siblings teenage Lutie and preadolescent Fate live with three hundred plus pounds Floy Satterfield; their runaway father's former girlfriend. However, their lives take a spin when their guardian drops dead at the local megastore. Lutie, who enjoys shoplifting for fun ever since she was booted from the high school gymnastics team due to unfair influences, persuades her eleven year old brother to give up the TV shows and global warming because they have two choices: flee in Floy's ancient car or allow the state to place them. They decide to find their wastrel dad whose last known address is Las Vegas with no further specificity except some dive hotel.

In Las Vegas, they begin to learn nasty truths re their father and prison, and where he might be; which if true will prove he is beyond their reach. Fifteen year old Lutie obtains fake working papers and dead-end jobs so she and her brother have food and shelter of sorts. However, increasingly their choices seem to be foster care or the street sharks including avaricious child molesters, rapists, drug addicts and other abusers. However, former aerialist Juan Vargas "adopts" the pair as his redemption and takes them to his family in Oklahoma where they run the Vargas Brothers Circus. Juan carries guilt, but his grandma has love for all three seemingly losers that might help each find sanctuary if they reach out to her and one another.

Although at times diving too deep into soap opera territory, MADE IN THE U.S.A. is an interesting character driven contemporary tale that argues it takes a village to raise children. Readers will feel for the McFee sibs, who are neglected while their guardian lived and after she dies make questionable decisions more out of fear.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Seaman VINE VOICE on November 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The fact that Bille Letts has named her book "Made In The U.S.A." is something about which I gave little thought until I was reading the book for a second time. As she has done in the past, Ms Letts takes many elements of American culture and fuses them together to show that it's impossible to define what a real family is, that family values are consistently about respect, love and forgiveness and that the human spirit is stronger than the greatest evil.

This book begins with some pretty horrific situations and sadly none of them are so far fetched as to be unbelievable; any person with his ear to the track (even remotely) already knows that what our two central characters suffer from the moment they learn they're children on their own in the world and must run to(of all places) Las Vegas knows that there are stories far worse than this out there every day. in Vegas, the two children slowly begin to lose their souls until taken to safety by a man who is recovering from his own trauma. It's a rescue that comes just in the knick of time and there's a fair amount of violence, just like the real world. We're kept in suspense as they begin to find love and we see that there's the possibility to heal from trauma-not forget it, Billie Letts doesn't pander to us and we wouldn't buy it if she did, but trauma becomes a part of the love we have to offer. Billie Letts speaks a language and philosophy that makes us want to be better people. She understands our culture and is a wonderful philosopher for us.

And we are all part of the Country that makes up the United States of America. Ms Letts has never written a book I didn't read at least once, nor have I ever closed the last page without having grown from the experience. I have a feeling, however, that "Made in the U.S.A.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Honeymustard on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Anticipating another great story by Billie Letts, I dove into this one as soon as it arrived. And although parts of the story made me a bit uncomfortable, it was a good story that was not a clone of her others but still had the Letts style. I think she was thinking more "out of the box" with this one. It's a great book to take on vacation as it doesn't take long to read, has a good story and is full of colorful characters. Evidently she did her research very well and showed a side of life that many of us never want to see. Having volunteered in a local food ministry, I have seen many people who struggle with the daily issue of finding food, etc. Made In The USA depicts that sad part of the character's lives as well as shows the joy of finding themselves to be worthy of love in the midst of despair. Lutie's strength is inspirational. Thanks for the story.
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