Friday, July 9, 2010

Book Review and a new favorite author

I recently discovered Author Billie Letts.  You may know her work from the movie "Where the Heart Is". It's a moving story of a young, pregnant girl abandoned at Wal-Mart by her boyfriend.  Let me tell you how much better the book was! (Aren't they always?)

I've read 4 of Bille Letts' 5 books now, and they are all fabulous. They are consistently about the middle or lower class Americans who are just doing their best.  The stories are rich in character, and rich in lessons. They make you grateful for the advantages that you have in your life.

Here are 2 of the 4 books that I've read, and highly recommend! You can get them at your local library, on Amazon, or even from me at my paperbackswap account! Just click on my Bookshelf to order! (You must be a member)  If you are local, I will gladly let you borrow my copies!

"The Honk and Holler Opening Soon" is my favorite. It's a witty story about life in a small town... mainly life in a small restaurant! Great characters, and great lessons!

From Publishers Weekly

Letts's gently humorous second novel confirms the promise of her debut, Where the Heart Is. For 12 years, wheelchair-bound restaurateur and Vietnam vet Caney Paxton hasn't left his Sequoyah, Okla., cafe, known (thanks to a sign-maker's error) as the Honk and Holler Opening Soon. Now it's Christmas time, 1985, and for Caney and four-times married waitress Molly O, who helped raise him, the holiday looks bleak: business is slumping, overdue bills are piling up and the roof is leaking. Worried about her teenage daughter, Brenda, a country musician seeking her fortune in Nashville, Molly O is too preoccupied to recognize the romantic interest of cafe regular Life Halstead; Caney, ashamed of his part in the war, feels trapped by his wound and his painful past. But that changes when luck brings the Honk and Holler two new employees: beautiful young Crow Indian drifter Vena Takes Horse, who signs on as a carhop, and Vietnamese refugee Bui Khanh, a cook and handyman running from a guilty secret of his own. Initially skeptical of the two outsiders, Honk and Holler habitu?s come to value Vena and Bui, especially after an act of violence threatens Bui's life. Even a few unresolved loose ends can't diminish the cumulative effect of this warm, sentimental tale, abundant with quirky detail and homespun wisdom, which emphasizes not only the power of romantic love but the healing powers of community as well. Author tour. 

"Where the Heart is" was Billie Letts first book. It is a fabulous story of a lost girl, and the wonderful people she finds to help her through life. Yes, there was a movie made... but surprisingly, the movie only covers the first 100 pages or so! Read this book. It's a reminder of how to treat others. 

From Publishers Weekly

Readers immersed in the offbeat world of Letts's lively, affecting first novel will forgive its occasional forced quirkiness. For 17-year-old Novalee Nation, seven months pregnant, the phrase "home is where your history begins" has a special meaning. Leaving behind a trail of foster homes in Tennessee trailer parks to live in a real house with her boyfriend, Willy Jack Pickens, Novalee instead finds herself abandoned in front of a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Okla. With nowhere to turn, she cleverly conceals herself within the store, keeping careful accounts until giving birth to the "Wal-Mart baby" turns her into a local celebrity. Happily, the community reaches out to Novalee and baby Americus. Sequoyah's one-woman welcoming committee, Sister Husband, takes them in; cultured librarian Forney Hull takes a shine to them; photographer Moses Whitecotton encourages Novalee's raw talent for photography by teaching her all he knows; Lexie Coop, who has a huge appetite for food, diet fads and the wrong men, befriends her; and legendary Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton gives her a job. Meanwhile, Willy Jack, an aspiring musician, gets a shot at the big time before hitting bottom and realizing what he's left behind. Letts's wacky characters are depicted with humor and hope, as well as an earnestness that rises above the story's uneven conceits, resulting in a heartfelt and gratifying read. Film rights sold to 20th Century Fox. 

I'll showcase the other 2 books in a later post. I don't want to get you too excited!!  Now, get to the Library!!


  1. LOVED where the heart is, so will have to read this when i get a minute, thanks for the review!!


  2. Billie Letts is one of my favorites, too. She really captures the essence of the folks from that part of the country. And I should know, since I'm a native Texan. Thanks for re-acquainting us with this wonderful author. SITS sent me by, and I'm glad they did!