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Where the Heart Is

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Talk about unlucky sevens. An hour ago, seventeen-year-old, seven months pregnant Novalee Nation was heading for California with her boyfriend. Now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But Novalee is about to discover hidden treasures in this small Southwest town--a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people willing t Talk about unlucky sevens. An hour ago, seventeen-year-old, seven months pregnant Novalee Nation was heading for California with her boyfriend. Now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But Novalee is about to discover hidden treasures in this small Southwest town--a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people willing to help a homeless, jobless girl living secretly in a Wal-Mart. From Bible-thumping blue-haired Sister Thelma Husband to eccentric librarian Forney Hull who loves Novalee more than she loves herself, they are about to take her--and you, too--on a moving, funny, and unforgettable journey to . . . Where the Heart Is.


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Talk about unlucky sevens. An hour ago, seventeen-year-old, seven months pregnant Novalee Nation was heading for California with her boyfriend. Now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But Novalee is about to discover hidden treasures in this small Southwest town--a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people willing t Talk about unlucky sevens. An hour ago, seventeen-year-old, seven months pregnant Novalee Nation was heading for California with her boyfriend. Now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But Novalee is about to discover hidden treasures in this small Southwest town--a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people willing to help a homeless, jobless girl living secretly in a Wal-Mart. From Bible-thumping blue-haired Sister Thelma Husband to eccentric librarian Forney Hull who loves Novalee more than she loves herself, they are about to take her--and you, too--on a moving, funny, and unforgettable journey to . . . Where the Heart Is.

30 review for Where the Heart Is

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brina

    I read Billie Letts' story of Novalee and Americus Nation back in high school when it was featured on Oprah's book club. I recently saw this reviewed on a friend's page (thank you, Deanna) and felt like is was time for a reread. Novalee Nation is 17 and pregnant when she is abandoned by her boyfriend Wily Jack at a Walmart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma. Wily Jack had promised Novalee a house in California but on the spot decided he could not deal with impending fatherhood and left her for nothing. Noval I read Billie Letts' story of Novalee and Americus Nation back in high school when it was featured on Oprah's book club. I recently saw this reviewed on a friend's page (thank you, Deanna) and felt like is was time for a reread. Novalee Nation is 17 and pregnant when she is abandoned by her boyfriend Wily Jack at a Walmart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma. Wily Jack had promised Novalee a house in California but on the spot decided he could not deal with impending fatherhood and left her for nothing. Novalee has nowhere to turn to and makes Walmart her home until the baby is born. On her first day in Sequoyah, she meets three special people who stay with her for the duration of the novel: Sister Hubbard, who becomes her surrogate mother; Moses Whitecotton, an elderly black gentleman and photographer who along with his wife Certain acts as her grandfather; and Benny Goodluck, a boy who for all practical purposes is her younger brother. The majority of the book focuses on Novalee and Americus and the roots they put down in Sequoyah. Interspersed with their story is that of Wily Jack and how he struggles to make it in the country music industry. Novalee has never gotten over Wily Jack and fears for him the entire book, almost as though she is afraid that he will come and take Americus away from her. After all, her life until moving to Sequoyah had been about neglect and abandonment. Novalee meets more special friends. First is Lexie Coop, her new best girl friend. The women are there for each other through thick and thin. Then there is Forney Hull, the town librarian who opens up Novalee's eyes to the world of education and who is smitten with her from day one. How their relationship develops becomes a major plot line of the book. The reason why I give this book 4.5 stars as opposed to 5 is because not all loose ends are tied up and I am a sucker for a perfect ending. Those who know me know that this is usually the reason why I will lower ratings. Aside from that, this is a beautiful book about what is positive about rural America. I was sad to say goodbye to the characters and can only dream that Novalee and Americus lead long and happy lives. I highly recommend this to all fiction aficionados.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    I loved this book!!! I can't believe I forgot to update and review it here. Sometimes I know I've read a book years ago but can't remember a lot about it. However, that is not the case with this book. I read it in 1999 when I was pregnant with my daughter. It seems like yesterday. It is so well written and such a wonderful book that remains with me all these years later. The main character Novalee Nation a 17 year old who is abandoned by her boyfriend and who gives birth to a baby girl in a Wal- I loved this book!!! I can't believe I forgot to update and review it here. Sometimes I know I've read a book years ago but can't remember a lot about it. However, that is not the case with this book. I read it in 1999 when I was pregnant with my daughter. It seems like yesterday. It is so well written and such a wonderful book that remains with me all these years later. The main character Novalee Nation a 17 year old who is abandoned by her boyfriend and who gives birth to a baby girl in a Wal-Mart store. Novalee was such a great character and easy to love and root for. There is also such a great cast of supporting characters in this book that are treasures with a couple that you will love to hate! Characters who open their hearts and home to Novalee and teach her many lessons while helping her raise her daughter Americus. This was such a unique story that was so hard to put down. Heartwarming, funny and quite intense at times. A page turner with so much heart that I will always recommend it highly.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a women's fiction. I loved this book so much. I watched the movie years ago, and I love it so much. I wanted to read the book after I learned the movie was basic off the book. I have to say the book is just like the book. I loved both the book and the movie. The characters in this book came to live, and I loved how Novalee made her own family. Novalee is a strong young girl that becomes a woman in this book. This was a heart warming story that will bring so much emotions out of you. (*) This is a women's fiction. I loved this book so much. I watched the movie years ago, and I love it so much. I wanted to read the book after I learned the movie was basic off the book. I have to say the book is just like the book. I loved both the book and the movie. The characters in this book came to live, and I loved how Novalee made her own family. Novalee is a strong young girl that becomes a woman in this book. This was a heart warming story that will bring so much emotions out of you. (*)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Ya'll, this is the sweetest book in the history of books! I read this one in high school, right before the movie with Natalie Portman came out. That turned out to be a bad idea, because the whole time I was in the theater I was analyzing how the book and the movie differed. Where the Heart Is tells the story of Novalee Nation, a pregnant teenager who's abandoned by her skank boyfriend in an unfamiliar Walmart. Novalee seems to charm everyone she meets, but she is naive at times and learns the ha Ya'll, this is the sweetest book in the history of books! I read this one in high school, right before the movie with Natalie Portman came out. That turned out to be a bad idea, because the whole time I was in the theater I was analyzing how the book and the movie differed. Where the Heart Is tells the story of Novalee Nation, a pregnant teenager who's abandoned by her skank boyfriend in an unfamiliar Walmart. Novalee seems to charm everyone she meets, but she is naive at times and learns the hard way that not every person is trustworthy. Still, she has a strong soul and seems to prevail despite the hardships that are thrown at her. Novalee, despite the weird name, is one of the most realistic characters that I've ever read. I don't know what it is about her character, probably the fact that she's so freaking sweet and innocent that you can't help but like her, but she's still a favorite of mine after almost a decade.

  5. 4 out of 5

    karla

    i loved this book. i have read many reviews by people that don't and the words "white trash" were always in there somewhere... they couldn't enjoy a book about a "white trash" heroine. i think that it's easy to judge, easy to devalue something because of personal prejudice... but if you've ever been in, known someone, or just heard about another human being in any of the situations resting in these pages, you can see the plain truth of it and it's beauty. i loved this book. i have read many reviews by people that don't and the words "white trash" were always in there somewhere... they couldn't enjoy a book about a "white trash" heroine. i think that it's easy to judge, easy to devalue something because of personal prejudice... but if you've ever been in, known someone, or just heard about another human being in any of the situations resting in these pages, you can see the plain truth of it and it's beauty.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    What a colassal waste of time...i'm giving this book the finger as we speak. What a colassal waste of time...i'm giving this book the finger as we speak.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hayley

    I read this book in high school and it sparked an interest in reading that was pretty much non-existent until then. Thanks Miss Illingworth! I also saw this movie, and although it was cute, I am much more connected to Letts's fabulous characters as they were described on paper. She has a true gift of making you connect with the people in her stories. Their "real-ness" is something to be applauded. I read this book in high school and it sparked an interest in reading that was pretty much non-existent until then. Thanks Miss Illingworth! I also saw this movie, and although it was cute, I am much more connected to Letts's fabulous characters as they were described on paper. She has a true gift of making you connect with the people in her stories. Their "real-ness" is something to be applauded.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Buzzword-A-Thon: Where Unexpected Read-A-Thon: Read something that's been on your TBR since 2018 or earlier I'm in the minority on this one, because this book has great reviews and people seem to love it. I think I read a different book then everyone else, because this book was not good. Where The Heart Is by Billie Letts is about 17 year old Novalee Nation who's seven months pregnant and has just been abandoned at a Wal-Mart by her baby daddy. The best way to describe Where The Heart Is, is its Buzzword-A-Thon: Where Unexpected Read-A-Thon: Read something that's been on your TBR since 2018 or earlier I'm in the minority on this one, because this book has great reviews and people seem to love it. I think I read a different book then everyone else, because this book was not good. Where The Heart Is by Billie Letts is about 17 year old Novalee Nation who's seven months pregnant and has just been abandoned at a Wal-Mart by her baby daddy. The best way to describe Where The Heart Is, is its a Tyler Perry play for white people. Its overly dramatic with dark subject matter like child abuse, poverty and grief being handled in the most child like and ham handed way possible. Everything is tied up in a nice little bow at the end. Novalee was such a simpleton and idiot that I kept rooting for her to get hit by a bus. I get it Forrest Gump made everyone want to write a book about a loveable idiot but Novalee is no Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump is THE BEST and I will fight anyone who disagrees. I had planned to watch the movie to this book which stars one of my favorite actresses Natalie Portman but I don't think I'll be able to do it. Where The Heart Is was a super fast read so that's why I gave it 2 Stars instead of 1 but I didn't enjoy this book any way. Maybe I waited too long to read it or maybe I was never gonna like it. I don't recommend Where The Heart Is

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marnie

    This book was horrible, if I could give it half a star I would. It's really unrealistic, if someone was living in a Wal Mart in real life, they'd be arrested, not given a job. And I thought Forney was a complete loser & Novalee was dumb to be so attracted to him, & I think the author had way too much fun thinking of ways that God could punish Willy Jack, the loser father of the baby, because all these horrible things happen to him. It makes teenage motherhood look glamorous & sends the message t This book was horrible, if I could give it half a star I would. It's really unrealistic, if someone was living in a Wal Mart in real life, they'd be arrested, not given a job. And I thought Forney was a complete loser & Novalee was dumb to be so attracted to him, & I think the author had way too much fun thinking of ways that God could punish Willy Jack, the loser father of the baby, because all these horrible things happen to him. It makes teenage motherhood look glamorous & sends the message that if you get into the situation that Novalee did everyone will love you & embrace you. And one last thing, I thought "Americus" was a really stupid name for the baby.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    This quirky story of a young girl who lives in a trailer in a Walmart parking lot captured my imagination and my heart. The movie version wasn't bad, either. Going to add this one to my reread list. I love ordinary people, going through all the usual trials and tribulations that beset the human race, who somehow make it to the other side with hope in their hearts. This was a fabulous read! This quirky story of a young girl who lives in a trailer in a Walmart parking lot captured my imagination and my heart. The movie version wasn't bad, either. Going to add this one to my reread list. I love ordinary people, going through all the usual trials and tribulations that beset the human race, who somehow make it to the other side with hope in their hearts. This was a fabulous read!

  11. 4 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    This book was pretty much a worthless piece of fluff. Anything this book does, any Barbara Kingsolver book will do about 2000 times better. This book is right on the border of dreadful. I must have gotten this book out of the trash. I hope I didn't pay even 20 cents for it at the Social Services League. Maybe I got it on $5 bag day at the Friends of the Library book sale. All I can say is that any amount I paid for this book was TOO MUCH! I read it when I was on a trip. I read it in airports and o This book was pretty much a worthless piece of fluff. Anything this book does, any Barbara Kingsolver book will do about 2000 times better. This book is right on the border of dreadful. I must have gotten this book out of the trash. I hope I didn't pay even 20 cents for it at the Social Services League. Maybe I got it on $5 bag day at the Friends of the Library book sale. All I can say is that any amount I paid for this book was TOO MUCH! I read it when I was on a trip. I read it in airports and on airplanes and in hotel rooms. I left it behind in my hotel room when I checked out. I didn't want to put it in the trash can, but I sure as hell didn't want to tote it home. Maybe the person who cleaned my room found it and her/his life was changed in some positive way. I hope so. All it did for me was keep me from dwelling on the possibility of a plane crash. This is one of the Opra's book club books, which is kind of surprising because some of the books in her club are actually decent. Not this one.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    Having seen the movie several times I already really knew this story. This book came out when I was only 5 years old and it is crazy that it has taken me this long to pick it up. I enjoyed it for the most part! The book gives a lot more detail character wise than the movie which was nice on occasion, but I thought the movie did a good job editing the characters especially Willy Jack; there was some unneeded scenes with him. Having said that this story is filled with great side characters. Moses Having seen the movie several times I already really knew this story. This book came out when I was only 5 years old and it is crazy that it has taken me this long to pick it up. I enjoyed it for the most part! The book gives a lot more detail character wise than the movie which was nice on occasion, but I thought the movie did a good job editing the characters especially Willy Jack; there was some unneeded scenes with him. Having said that this story is filled with great side characters. Moses and Certain are a favorite along with quirky Sister Husband. The story as a whole is engaging and heart warming. It also doesn't shy away from consequences of life choices.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Siobhan Colley

    I was introduced to this book since i watched the film first, and thought it was beautiful. This book didn't dissapoint me, it had beauty and love. Some may say its unbelivable or incourages teenage pregancy, since all ends well. But i don't believe thats true this book is about the good and bad in life, how sometimes a bad situation that looks like it will never get better, can be the begginning. A start to someones history, a start to someones life, a chance to become someone new. I related to I was introduced to this book since i watched the film first, and thought it was beautiful. This book didn't dissapoint me, it had beauty and love. Some may say its unbelivable or incourages teenage pregancy, since all ends well. But i don't believe thats true this book is about the good and bad in life, how sometimes a bad situation that looks like it will never get better, can be the begginning. A start to someones history, a start to someones life, a chance to become someone new. I related to this book, and i'm only 15 and i could see the wisdom and advice this book gives you, i could relate to the teenage Novalee Nation, she was knocked down and abandoned so many times and still found the best in people, she never lost hope that the next time would be differnet, the next person would be the right one to trust, some say its a naive belief but doesnt it also show courage, that this teenage girl counld still find it in her heart to trust those who offered help. I admire that in her, and the others in her life, they all gave chances to people who may not deseve them, its something that sometime i wish i could do, trust those who i should. The book shows that some people are bad and some are good, but sometimes theres a time to trust, time to understand, to forgive. To help someone get home, or let some else help you, to build a home or to go home. Because after all Home is Where the Heart is.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    Honestly, the only thing I enjoyed about this book was that it was an easy read, which made the process of finishing it quick and slightly less painful. Only slightly, though, because this book was pretty much a waste of my time. I got nothing out of this story whatsoever. Novalee is the least inspiring protagonist I've ever had to follow, and the breaks to Willy Jack's story line came as a relief, despite the fact that he's meant to be a secondary character. I don't understand the choice to mak Honestly, the only thing I enjoyed about this book was that it was an easy read, which made the process of finishing it quick and slightly less painful. Only slightly, though, because this book was pretty much a waste of my time. I got nothing out of this story whatsoever. Novalee is the least inspiring protagonist I've ever had to follow, and the breaks to Willy Jack's story line came as a relief, despite the fact that he's meant to be a secondary character. I don't understand the choice to make this book first person; sure, it would be weird to switch between Novalee and Willy Jack's perspective if it was in first, but for the purpose of the novel I think third person was ineffective. The audience is supposed to be following Novalee on an emotional journey, and yet Novalee doesn't seem to react to anything for more than a paragraph. It's as if groundbreaking moments have little effect on her, which I found to be incredibly annoying. The plot development in this novel was sporadic at best, moving slowly for some chapters and then jumping ahead two months for the next. It was inconsistent and I think it hindered the flow of the novel. I found myself struggling to envision how Novalee managed to get from point A to point B way too often, and honestly it seems like the author skipped these parts simply so she wouldn't have to provide an explanation (for example, the two months after Americus is born isn't even touched on, and details on how Novalee settled in to Walmart, how she felt about the press going after her, and Mama Nell's betrayal are left out). Overall, this book was a disappointment. I don't know what Oprah was on about when she recommended it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile

    Ahhhh such a great feel-good book, but NOT, at the same time. Novalee definitely has experienced her share of heartbreak and sadness, but she trucks on and always comes out okay on the other side. I have always loved this movie and the book was wonderful as well! I was happy to see that the movie followed very closely with the book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    First, let me start off by saying this book was made into a movie (starring Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd) in 2000. It is one of those feel good flicks (you know the type, the kind that plays on Lifetime) and I saw it a few years ago. I'm one of those people who prefers to read a book prior to watching the movie adaptation, because I like to visualize the characters and scenes myself. There is a certain thrill of a story unfolding on a page vs. a movie screen (and the book is almost always mor First, let me start off by saying this book was made into a movie (starring Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd) in 2000. It is one of those feel good flicks (you know the type, the kind that plays on Lifetime) and I saw it a few years ago. I'm one of those people who prefers to read a book prior to watching the movie adaptation, because I like to visualize the characters and scenes myself. There is a certain thrill of a story unfolding on a page vs. a movie screen (and the book is almost always more rewarding). Since I already knew the basic plot, I found myself comparing the book to the movie. That being said: This book was an Oprah book club selection and alternate selection of the Literary Guild. As such, I had high hopes and was greatly disappointed. I did not dislike this book-it was "okay." A poor, uneducated, pregnant teenager is abandoned by her boyfriend. She is taken in by a woman who becomes her surrogate mother, gets a job, finds a best friend, goes to school and eventually falls in love. Of course-she is beautiful, has a heart of gold and everyone loves her and her baby. Overall, it is a story of love, hope and survival. I appreciate 'feel good' stories like the next person but parts of this book were so unbelievable it was infuriating. For instance: -After Novalee (the main character) is abandoned by her boyfriend, she becomes homeless and secretly moves into Wal-Mart. She does not look for a job or suitable housing. Although it is never explicitly explained, I don't think she ever had any prenatal care throughout the entire pregnancy either. However, once the baby is born, she immediately becomes a super responsible mother, it just didn't jive. - Novalee was abandoned by her mother at age 7. She sees her again TEN years later and believes her mother when she says she wants to help Novalee get an apartment and help with the baby. Even if you didn't see the movie beforehand, anyone could see that her mother would disappear after Novalee handed over her entire savings. Novalee is someone who (after her mother left) was raised in foster homes-she should have more street smarts. I understand Letts was showing how naive she was, but come on! -Novalee goes on birth control after the birth of her daughter (good decision) but fails to read the instruction booklet or listen to the doctor about how it works. This seems completely unrealistic to me. She is portrayed as someone who loves to read and is a responsible mother, it just doesn't fit with the character. Additionaly-the book contains chapters discussing Willy Jack (the boyfriend who abandoned Novalee). Although Letts tied their stories together at the conclusion of the book, I felt she could have wrapped up the book differently (while maintaining the happy ending) and eliminated his story completely. There was also a section involving child rape that could have been left out. Overall, this book was 'eh.'

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karina Almeroth

    One of my all-time fav books. The first time I read it, I bought it from the bookstore at Indro shopping centre (before it closed down...sigh!!) one Saturday afternoon with my ex husband (husband at the time...another sigh!), then went home, went to bed, didn't sleep that night and read it all in one sitting. I was blown away by it then, and even named my daughter after one of the characters (Cherry). Rereading it now, it hasn't lost any of its power and beauty. I find it's really a book about th One of my all-time fav books. The first time I read it, I bought it from the bookstore at Indro shopping centre (before it closed down...sigh!!) one Saturday afternoon with my ex husband (husband at the time...another sigh!), then went home, went to bed, didn't sleep that night and read it all in one sitting. I was blown away by it then, and even named my daughter after one of the characters (Cherry). Rereading it now, it hasn't lost any of its power and beauty. I find it's really a book about the kindness of strangers...it has so many heartbreaking moments, but you go from sad to hopeful within seconds, from the good in the characters and the author's beautiful writing. Reading it again I wish it were a longer book...now I feel it goes from one scene, or tragic or good, event to the next too quickly. More, I want more!! Only cause it is so damn good. My heart hurts after reading this, but it hurts in a good way! Read the book to understand :) I ordered her only other book, The Honk and Hollar Opening Soon, and it arrived today. Dying to jump straight into it, but with only two books by this amazingly talented author, I may need to cherish and save it for another lazy Saturday afternoon. She may never write another novel! Now that is heartbreaking.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Idarah

    Have you ever been so "daw-gone" tired, that you're visualizing the comfort of your solitary bed? That warm down comforter. Your plush pillows. You keep pumping yourself up with the thought that you're nearly home. You've finally made it. You want to ensure that you really enjoy your night's rest, so even though you can hardly move, you go through your nightly hot shower ritual. Finally, you settle into bed, turn out the lights. All is quiet save for the steady breathing of your furry friends, a Have you ever been so "daw-gone" tired, that you're visualizing the comfort of your solitary bed? That warm down comforter. Your plush pillows. You keep pumping yourself up with the thought that you're nearly home. You've finally made it. You want to ensure that you really enjoy your night's rest, so even though you can hardly move, you go through your nightly hot shower ritual. Finally, you settle into bed, turn out the lights. All is quiet save for the steady breathing of your furry friends, and the soft noises of the house settling. And there it is! That moment when you shut your eyes and relish how wonderful it finally feels to completely let go. It feels so good, you can almost taste it! You find yourself unconsciously smacking your lips right before you drift off. That is this book! It's so...tasty! Each time I settled in to read a few passages, I was just overcome with so much love and concern for all the characters. Despite having more than a few heavy themes and scenes, it all came together in a warm, comforting way. Definitely at the top of my comfort reads.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Heather Victoria

    This was a very easy read. A very good story. Of course considering I've seen the movie 1000 times the whole way through it I was comparing the two. Of course the movie didn't have all the personal relationships Novalee gains but as a whole the movie kept the same story. The movie just mixed the events up. This was a very easy read. A very good story. Of course considering I've seen the movie 1000 times the whole way through it I was comparing the two. Of course the movie didn't have all the personal relationships Novalee gains but as a whole the movie kept the same story. The movie just mixed the events up.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer DeLucy

    Not sure why, but this one always appealed to me. Something about the idea of surviving in a Walmart...just intrigues me.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Winfield

    I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick, cute, easy read. It seems that this is a love/hate book. Don't read it expecting some great piece of high-minded literature. Take it for what it is - a feel good story about growing and changing. Novalee Nation matures throughout the book because of the people she meets in her new home. Where the Heart is is a book about the journey that you take as you grow up. I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick, cute, easy read. It seems that this is a love/hate book. Don't read it expecting some great piece of high-minded literature. Take it for what it is - a feel good story about growing and changing. Novalee Nation matures throughout the book because of the people she meets in her new home. Where the Heart is is a book about the journey that you take as you grow up.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    What may appear as fluff and cheap chick lit is a masterful account of the ebb and tide of love, while there are saccharine notes there are some hard hitting truths exposed within the pages. What would happen if Romeo and Juliet survived? A young ingénue is abandoned by her paramour to face the teenage pregnancy which has become a tell of their union. Set amidst a trailer park and a Walmart in the heartland of America these motifs are indictments of the truth of the American dream and offer a st What may appear as fluff and cheap chick lit is a masterful account of the ebb and tide of love, while there are saccharine notes there are some hard hitting truths exposed within the pages. What would happen if Romeo and Juliet survived? A young ingénue is abandoned by her paramour to face the teenage pregnancy which has become a tell of their union. Set amidst a trailer park and a Walmart in the heartland of America these motifs are indictments of the truth of the American dream and offer a stark reality that does not shimmer with the glitz and glamor of New York, Los Angeles, or Hollywood. In a land that has championed the rugged individualist and masculine patriarchy of industry - we see the struggles of motherhood and the intense isolation, passion, and friendship that rescue this community. Home is where the heart is; but this novel contains one of the most shocking accounts of domestic violence and sexual abuse I have found in print. As an adolescent my childhood home was robbed - the feeling of security and trust the environment fostered were forever shattered by the knowledge that our security had been violated. This pales in comparison to the aggression experienced by a lonely housewife who is brutally beaten within an inch of her life before her children are molested by a blind internet date. The feeling of betrayal felt by this mother, her desperation to be loved, and her guilt by allowing the wolf in sheep's clothing to enter the pasture of her keep are palpable.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This is an Oprah recommended book which is why I began it. I didn't finish it --- a rare thing for me, but really, I couldn't spend any more time with the naive, starry-eyed, po' white trash heroine. She's 17, pregnant, and has been abandoned at a Walmart by her do-wrong boyfriend. When she gets her hands on some money the first thing she does is turn it over to her mother who abandoned her when she was nine (or something). Loser Mom read about her daughter in the paper because daughter had her This is an Oprah recommended book which is why I began it. I didn't finish it --- a rare thing for me, but really, I couldn't spend any more time with the naive, starry-eyed, po' white trash heroine. She's 17, pregnant, and has been abandoned at a Walmart by her do-wrong boyfriend. When she gets her hands on some money the first thing she does is turn it over to her mother who abandoned her when she was nine (or something). Loser Mom read about her daughter in the paper because daughter had her baby in Walmart and the Walmart baby became great advertising. Obviously the heroine (whose name I'm blocking on) will reconcile lots of arbitrary people because her generous spirit shines through. Hopefully she will also become a little bit smarter about people who use her (boyfriend, mom, etc), but thankfully I won't have take that journey with her. That's the great thing about books. You can put them down and walk away from them.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    Great book. I read it in 4 hours and spent most of that time crying. Definitely a book that stays with you and warms your heart. The movie version was actually pretty darn faithful but doesn't take the place of this gem. Great book. I read it in 4 hours and spent most of that time crying. Definitely a book that stays with you and warms your heart. The movie version was actually pretty darn faithful but doesn't take the place of this gem.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Belinda

    4,25 stars - English hardcover ( libarybook ) - I have dyslexia - review follows later 🍀🦋🍀

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Where the Heart Is is a story about a 17-year old pregnant girl called Novallee on a road trip to California from her home in Tennessee with her boyfriend, hoping to find a happy home with her boyfriend working on the railroads. Never has Novallee ever lived in a house and she wants to make sure that her baby grows up in the best environment that she can create. Novallee keeps a journal full of magazine pictures of houses and she looks through them, imagining her dream house in her head. But get Where the Heart Is is a story about a 17-year old pregnant girl called Novallee on a road trip to California from her home in Tennessee with her boyfriend, hoping to find a happy home with her boyfriend working on the railroads. Never has Novallee ever lived in a house and she wants to make sure that her baby grows up in the best environment that she can create. Novallee keeps a journal full of magazine pictures of houses and she looks through them, imagining her dream house in her head. But getting to California and building/finding her dream house becomes impossible when her boyfriend ditches her in a Wal-Mart. But just because she left alone in a city that seems to be in the middle of nowhere doesn’t mean that her adventures have come to an end. Novallee meets several people, including Sister Husband, a kind generous old lady who seems to provide everything Novallee needs, Moses Whitecotton, a photographer that lectures Novallee on how she has to give her a baby a good, strong name, and Fornley, a librarian who cares about her more than she thinks. This book is about people’s lives, the hard-ships they encounter, the sadness that happens at unexpected times, and how they, with their friends, managed to pull through, together. This book is about how Novallee found where her heart is. I have no doubts that this is a five star book. It shows you that other people’s lives are bad, but that they didn’t give up. And even though this isn’t a true story, the fact that they don’t give up can help you when you think you’re about to stop and give up.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    A quick re-read for an SRC task. A very sweet story about a teenager discarded by those who should care for her (parents, boyfriend who is the father of her baby, etc). Instead, Novalee makes a family for herself out of the misfits in a small Oklahoma town. The setting feels very nailed into the Oklahoma landscape in a way that The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend does not. I originally picked this up in undergrad because the hook - pregnant Novalee somehow manages to live inside the Wal-Mart w A quick re-read for an SRC task. A very sweet story about a teenager discarded by those who should care for her (parents, boyfriend who is the father of her baby, etc). Instead, Novalee makes a family for herself out of the misfits in a small Oklahoma town. The setting feels very nailed into the Oklahoma landscape in a way that The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend does not. I originally picked this up in undergrad because the hook - pregnant Novalee somehow manages to live inside the Wal-Mart where she is abandoned by said awful boyfriend - caught my attention and I was looking for an escape from MCATs and biochem exams. A good summer read if you're starting to look for beach reads.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maeghan

    This is the only book I've ever read that I wanted to throw across the room. It's very sappy and poorly written. Oh, and the story is stupid. Don't read it. Ever. This is the only book I've ever read that I wanted to throw across the room. It's very sappy and poorly written. Oh, and the story is stupid. Don't read it. Ever.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    The upbeat side of tragedy comes through at every turn and the reader is pleasantly left with the optimism that good will prevail. A joy to read and emotionally satisfing along the way.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Didn't review at the time of reading, unfortunately, but loved this story. Heartwarming and we saw the good side of human nature in the end. Didn't review at the time of reading, unfortunately, but loved this story. Heartwarming and we saw the good side of human nature in the end.

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