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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My heart was with this book!
In Billie Letts' novel "Where the Heart Is," she creates a loving and heartwarming story about a young woman trying to establish herself as a positive role model for her daughter and keep up with the fast paced changes life throws in her direction. The novel follows Novalee Nation, a young woman of 17 who gives birth to a baby girl in the most unlikely place: a Wal-Mart...
Published on May 26 2004 by Kelsey B.

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3.0 out of 5 stars Novalee's Journey
Novalee Nation finally thought she was having some good luck. She was leaving her small, trailer-park town in Tennessee and moving to California with the father of her soon-to-be child. Her choices come back to haunt her when she finds herself stranded in a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma virtually penniless but able to survive using all the resources that Wal-Mart has to offer. She...
Published on May 8 2003


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My heart was with this book!, May 26 2004
By 
Kelsey B. (Anchorage, AK USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Where the Heart Is (Paperback)
In Billie Letts' novel "Where the Heart Is," she creates a loving and heartwarming story about a young woman trying to establish herself as a positive role model for her daughter and keep up with the fast paced changes life throws in her direction. The novel follows Novalee Nation, a young woman of 17 who gives birth to a baby girl in the most unlikely place: a Wal-Mart store. Knowing no one in the small town of Sequoyah, Oklahoma where she was abandoned by her boyfriend, she is forced to find friends and support from a whole host of characters. There's Sister Thelma Husband, who opens her home to Novalee and helps raise her daughter Americus. Forney, the librarian, who teaches Novalee some of the most important lessons about love and friendship. Lexie, the nurse who befriended Novalee in the hospital after Americus was born, who taught her important lessons about family, and that life can change in a single moment and not to take anything for granted. All of the characters are so well developed and they add something unique to the story that makes it such a great read.
Billie Letts does an excellent job of placing the reader in Sequoyah, mostly because she has lived there before and knows the ways to make a reader feel as though they are experiencing the dry heat of Oklahoma and the tornado that whips through the town, leaving a huge impact on the life of Novalee. It was a very easy read, not a lot of overwhelming detail. Just enough to evoke an image in your mind of the characters and the setting, and to get a solid understanding of the feelings and emotions of the characters.
I really loved the bond between Novalee and Americus, and how the emphasis on family was so important. Novalee was such a strong character and the way she worked hard to provide the best life she could for her daughter was so clear. She had her share of struggles throughout the story, such as losing her job, the loss of someone very close to her, lessons on heartache and love, and facing her fears of becoming an adult while she's still a teenager. Lexie is also a character who learns many lessons about the importance of family after a traumatic event leaves her and her kids with nothing but hope left to get them through life. Lexie was my favorite character, though, as she not only added humorous levels to the book, but also showed great elements of strength and hope.
"Where the Heart Is" is such a strong book and it was very hard to put down. I enjoyed every character and though the situations did get intense at times, the feeling of love and compassion that the characters had for one another shone through establishing the element of hope found in the novel. Billie Letts is a great author who knows how to write a book that will touch your heart and provide you with a real page-turner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Billie Letts did an excellent job of portraying a young Novalee Nation, Oct. 14 2007
This review is from: Where the Heart Is (Paperback)
A girl who finds herself pregnant and abandoned in a Wal-Mart, in the novel Where The Heart Is. At the age of seventeen, Novalee is left to survive on her own with just $7.77 when her boyfriend, Willy Jack Pickens, abandons her at a Wal-Mart in the small town of Sequoyah, Oklahoma. Throughout Novalee's stay at the Wal-Mart Letts develops a variety of unique and considerate people with whom Novalee has encounters. Letts shows how Novalee learns many lessons from all of the people who she meets, and that learning is a life-long journey.

Letts introduces Novalee to many people who have a significant impact on her life, from the Bible pushing Sister Thelma Husband to the elderly photographer Moses Whitecotton. Where The Heart Is allows teenagers to see how life can be if they do not make the right decisions. Letts created a situation and confronts problems to which most teenagers can relate in this novel. Such as the awkward , and most times uncomfortable topic as the consequences of sex. Through Letts' realistic style of writing the reader feels as if they are taking each step that Novalee takes right beside her. Letts develops a plot that moves along at a perfect pace. The plot development is not so fast that you can not comprehend what is going on, but it always leaves you on the edge of your seat wanting to know what will happen next. In addition, Letts always has other characters in the novel facing problems which help to keep the reader interested. At the end of the novel I had only two negative criticisms. The first was that I found it unrealistic that Novalee could have lived in a Wal-Mart without ever being caught.

The other was that I was not necessarily interested in the life of Willy Jack Pickens, after he abandoned Novalee. However, these two aspects of the book are easily overlooked because the reader quickly becomes wrapped up in the problems that Letts presents Novalee and the other characters with. I would recommend Where The Heart Is to all teenagers, both boys and girls. The novel teaches many lessons of the heart, and would be beneficial for any teenager to read. Where The Heart Is teaches the reader how tender and delicate a person's heart is, as well as how powerful the words "I love you," are. With each new character introduced in the novel something new is learned. Such as how love is a powerful thing, and should never be determined by the financial status of a person. Forney's love for Novalee and her daughter, Americus, demonstrated this life lesson clearly. Overall, Letts compassionately told the story of the young and innocent Novalee, who she seems to hold sympathy for. I would recommend Where The Heart Is by Billie Letts to anyone who wants to read a heart-warming novel, that is very hard to put down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Book For All Ages, May 4 2004
This review is from: Where the Heart Is (Paperback)
In this story Novalee Nation discovers what it is like to have a real and loving family. The book starts of with Novalee being left at Wal-Mart by her out-to-get-rich-quick boyfriend. While trying to figure out what to do Novalee runs into a woman who calls herself Sister Husband. After being let down by her own greed mother, Novalee decides to take Sister up on her offer of welcome. From then on Novalee experiences even more of what she was always missing in life. To raising her daughter, helping others, and discovering her love to take pictures Billie Letts' character Novalee and all the others will take you for one of the greatest adventures of your life. I recommend this book for people of all ages. You will laugh and cry all the way through the entire book. Mrs. Letts has done a remarkable job of writing this book. This book was also chosen for Oprah's Book Club. After reading this book I am very sure you will agree with me that it is one of a kind. Since this book is more modern than any of Shakespeare's works you will not have to learn a totally different language to comprehend it. This book is much easier to read than anything Shakespeare could come up with. All will easily understand the themes and social issues involved. Themes of loneliness, trying to fit in, and looking for a place to call home are all themes we can relate to. Many of the social issues we deal with daily are in this book. Like for example teen pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, sex, and many more we see around us daily.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Where the Heart Is, March 1 2004
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This review is from: Where the Heart Is (Paperback)
If you're a person who likes to read books about people who have problems, how they get through them, and succeed, then this heart-felt, moving book is for you. Where the Hear Is, is about a seventeen year old girl, who has bad luck with the number seven. Novalee is seven months pregnant and moving to California with her boyfriend. When he abandons her at a Walmart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma with only $7.77 in her pocket. In this small Southwest town Novalee discovers a group of caring, loving, and helpful people. She meets a Bible-thumping, blue-haired Sister Thelma Husband, who helps her when she has no job, food, money, or a place for her and her baby to live. Novalee meets unique, helpful, young man who comes to love Novalee and her baby very much. In this journey you will find a strong, resourceful young woman that many teens can relate to.
The genre of this book would be realistic fiction.
The people who would be interested in this book are people who like stories with hear and anyone who knows the special gifts to be found in a small town.
I like the syle of the authors writing becuase, it is unique and easy to read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Will they surrive ?, Jan. 11 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Where the Heart Is (Paperback)
The book i read for my independent reading project was a fiction book called " Where The Heart Is" by Billie Letts. The theme of this book is love and happiness. This book is about a seventeen-year-old girl named Novalee Nation. Novalee is a strong young woman who is very determined in life. She's seven months pregnant by her boyfriend,Willy Jack. This book follows a pregnant teenager who had a hard life raising a child and taking care of herself. Novalee is abandoned at a Wal-Mart in Oaklahoma by her low life boyfriend and with only $7.77 in her beach bag. From there, Novalee makes a better life for her and her new born baby, Americus. Throughout the book she meets and befriends characters such as Sister Husband, Lexie Coop and Forney hull who taught her important lessons on life.
I really liked this book. It was interesting to see how a young lady can carry on her life while having to take care of a newborn on her own and without the father there to support them. It was also interesting to see how much Novalee grew from being a poor, naive, unemployed, highschool drop out to a book educated young woman with a growing career as a photographer. This book will make you believe in the strength of friendship, the goodness of down-to-earth people and the healing power of love.
I think this book teaches a lesson. It shows how much of your life is taken away when you have a baby at such a young age,nevertheless not having the father around. It makes it harder when the father takes off because you don't have twice the income coming in for the baby. Most likely it's probably hard being a single parent and not having that much money. Hopefully this book will teach young teenagers to just life their life to the fullest and wait until you find the one you want to marry, get married and then when you're finically stabele, have children.
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4.0 out of 5 stars excellent!, Jan. 10 2004
This review is from: Where the Heart Is (Paperback)
I stared this book twice because I thought that it was going to be a sluggish novel that I wouldn't be able to get into. Once I started really reading it, though, I quickly found that I couldn't have been more wrong! Novalee Nation, seventeen years old and pregnant, is left stranded at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma by her loser boyfriend, Willie Jack. Things obviously don't look so great for Novalee, but she ends up meeting some wonderfully unique people, including a strange librarian who is infatuated with her, Forney Hull, and Sister Thelma Husband, whom she ends up living with. The book was also really hilarious - I rarely laugh out loud in books, but there were lots of little passages that had me chuckling. Don't be fooled, though; there is a lot of drama that goes down, including abuse, neglect, and death. I almost cried when one of the main characters died. The best thing about Letts' writing was how three-dimensional she was able to make her characters. And likeable, too! Novalee is one of my favorite protagonists ever - I was really rooting for her throughout the whole book. Where the Heart Is was one of the most original stories I've read, the kind that made me sit back and just marvel over the author's imagination.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Where the Heart is", Jan. 7 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Where the Heart Is (Paperback)
´¿Where the heart is´¿ by Billie Letts. This book is a fiction book. I really enjoyed reading this it, I thought it was very memorable. This book is about a girl named Novalee; her and her boyfriend Willie Jack are traveling to Bakersfield, California. On their way to California Novalee has to stop at a local Wal-Mart to buy a pair of shoes because hers fell out of a hole in the bottom of the car. But Willie Jack is getting fed up with having to keep on stopping for Novalee so he just abandons her there. All she was left with was ten dollars. And not to mention she is only seventeen and seven months pregnant and thirty-seven pounds overweight. And she is superstitious about the number seven because she had a bad history with them. But in the parking lot she meets three people who will change her life forever Sister Thelma Husband, Benny Goodluck, and Moses Whitecotton. They help her get through it.
I really enjoyed this book a lot. It was very interesting and entertaining I didn´¿t find myself bored with it at all. This book really showed how it would be like if that truly did happen and how hard it would be also. It felt like I knew Novalee and all the people she met. I would highly recommend this book to anyone because I think they would enjoy it also.
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5.0 out of 5 stars this is what America should be about, Dec 28 2003
This review is from: Where the Heart Is (Paperback)
I saw this story as a movie before I read the book and I have found both to be very entertaining.
A young, pregnant woman is abandoned at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma by the father of her baby. She is seven months pregnant and has seven dollars and seventy-seven cents to her name. (The number seven has been an unlucky number for her all her life.) She meets three people while she is in the Wal-Mart parking lot that offer her friendship and which end up being her extended family. For the first months she secretly lives in Wal-Mart store until the birth of her baby which takes place there. She gets nation-wide media attention because of the unusual situation and a job offer from Sam Walton himself.
She is befriended by the people she met that first day and then many others that she meets. They all help her take care of the baby and give her support.
The boyfriend who dumps her ends up going down a path of misfortune that one tends to do when they are only concerned about themselves and not with the consequences of their actions.
When I said this is what America should be about, I meant the generosity and caring of those people, that met Novalee and learned of her problems, who gave and worked together to help her out and her reciprocy-being there when someone needs help. They didn't have a lot but they shared and did what they could. This would be a much better world if more people would be like that.
This was a really interesting book and I highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ashia's Review On A Great Book, Nov. 9 2003
This review is from: Where the Heart Is (Paperback)
Where the Heart Is, by Billie Letts, is a touching and well-written novel. It follows the life of a pregnant teenager who has a hard life raising a child and taking care of herself. Novalee Nation is a seventeen year old girl who is abandoned in a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma when the father of her unborn child leaves her there with only a little money. Novalee has nowhere to go so she lives in the store for three months until she has her little girl who she names Americus. She then moves in with numerous people and discovers many interesting things about life and motherhood. She befriends many people such as Forney Hull, the librarian, a blue-haired woman named Sister Thelma Husband, Moses Whitecotton, the Wal-Mart photographer, along with others and discovers what the real meaning of love and friendship is. This book was very touching having many humorous and many serious parts. I would definitely recommend this book because of the combination of emotions that touch your heart and teach many good lessons to women and teen girls. This novel is also very realistic, inspiring, and makes Novalee Nation a good role model for girls to follow because of her strength and determination.
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4.0 out of 5 stars (...) Review, Nov. 6 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Where the Heart Is (Paperback)
Novalee Nation is a teenage girl who has strong superstitions against the number seven due to bad experiences in the past. She was now seventeen and seven months pregnant, off to California with Willy Jack, the father of her baby. After being deserted at Wal-Mart with nothing but $7.77, Novalee makes herself a home inside the store and eventually makes a top news story, The Wal-Mart Baby. From there, her adventure only becomes more intriguing as she grows from a girl to a woman. Many caring people along the way make it possible for her to live a life she has only dreamed of.
"Where the Heart Is" is a heart-warming, attention drawing book. I recommend this book to a teenage female or even females of all ages who like to read about possible real-life situations. This story is humorous, yet serious at times. It combines many different characteristics such as comedy, tragedy, sadness and laughter. Novalee shows courage, fear, loneliness, and strength. She's a positive role model for women of any age. You can read this story over and over again and not grow tired of it.
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Where the Heart Is
Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts (Hardcover - Nov. 1995)
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