Book Review: Made in the U.S.A.

A heart-stoppingly tragic yet ultimately uplifting tale of two children left to cope on their own after the sudden death of Floy Satterfield, their father’s ex-girlfriend. Fifteen-year-old Lutie McFee and her eleven-year-old brother Fate leave Spearfish, South Dakota in Floy’s beat-up Pontiac bound for Las Vegas, their father’s last known address. With no other living relatives and only $152.47, just making it to Vegas will demand ingenuity as Lutie makes the most of her shoplifting and acting skills.

Life doesn’t improve for Lutie and Fate when they discover how harsh life on the streets of Vegas can be. Lutie begins slipping into the common traps of drugs and worse while Fate dreams of attending school. Through their difficult homeless existence, an unknown benefactor leaves small gifts and notes of advice giving Fate reason to hope. One fateful night Fate meets their guardian angel Juan, when Lutie is beaten nearly to death. Juan loads the kids up and heads for his family home in Oklahoma and perhaps, a better life for them all.

This finely crafted, touching tale explores the depths of family ties, the difficulties that come with unexpected loss and the resilience of the human spirit. Fate is a gifted child, wise beyond his young years while his sister is a typical self-indulgent teenager attempting to cope with being responsible for them both. The interplay between these two characters as they struggle with one disappointment after another makes for a compelling read that is kept from sinking into melodrama by Juan’s part. The satisfying climax leaves the impression that although there will be rough spots ahead, all three have a shot at a brighter future.

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