Where the Heart Is

Written by: Billie Letts

Where the Heart Is Book Cover
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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Where the Heart Is Reviews

Ayesha Hadi
Where the Heart Is was a very different read. The author grabbed your attention right at the beginning of the book by telling us about a young teenager who is pregnant and left stranded at a Walmart in a small town. Although the story had sounded very interesting, throughout the novel I felt very lost and at times I had to re-read sections of the book to really understand what the author was trying to say.

The characters in the book were very enlightening and they all had great qualities to them. Where the Heart Is was a very different read. The author grabbed your attention right at the beginning of the book by telling us about a young teenager who is pregnant and left stranded at a Walmart in a small town. Although the story had sounded very interesting, throughout the novel I felt very lost and at times I had to re-read sections of the book to really understand what the author was trying to say.

The characters in the book were very enlightening and they all had great qualities to them. They each made the story better but other than that, the author was trying to hard to make it seem as if the main character, Novalee, was naive. The readers are very easily able to infer what is really happening. Novalee knew exactly what was happening but she just pretended as if everything was alright.

Overall, the book was not awful but it was very dragged on. It was hard at times to read because it was so boring. I would not recommend this novel because it was not a very interesting read and it was very dragged on.
Amy
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, and even though some of the subject matter was a little heavy, for the most part this was a light-hearted book. When the subject matter was heavier, I thought the author did a wonderful job writing about those subjects without making anything feel forced or sappy.

I read some of the other reviews on goodreads that said people couldn't stand how naive Novalee was. I think that was the whole point of the book. She did make some stupid decisions becau I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, and even though some of the subject matter was a little heavy, for the most part this was a light-hearted book. When the subject matter was heavier, I thought the author did a wonderful job writing about those subjects without making anything feel forced or sappy.

I read some of the other reviews on goodreads that said people couldn't stand how naive Novalee was. I think that was the whole point of the book. She did make some stupid decisions because she was young and naive, but she matured throughout the book and the reader got to see her progress.

The names were a little unbelievable but they added to the charm of the book.

The movie stays very true to the book. I saw the movie first, and I did not notice any major differences that annoyed me. The changes I did notice were more like combining events. Also, I don't remember Moses Whitecotton in the movie, but I haven't seen it in years and that might be why.
Kim 'BookAddict'
This book had a very Beautiful story. It also had a really nice set of characters. I liked all of them. However, I felt that the plot didn't Always flow, and there were big time gaps. I liked the fact that we got to follow the characters throughout a long period of time, so that we got a bit of character development. But I do wish that the relationship forming between the characters had been more detailed. The time gaps sometimes made it confusing. I also would have liked to seen a Little bit mo This book had a very Beautiful story. It also had a really nice set of characters. I liked all of them. However, I felt that the plot didn't Always flow, and there were big time gaps. I liked the fact that we got to follow the characters throughout a long period of time, so that we got a bit of character development. But I do wish that the relationship forming between the characters had been more detailed. The time gaps sometimes made it confusing. I also would have liked to seen a Little bit more interaction between the main character and her daughter. Still a good book, though.
Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books :: Run Silent Run Deep :: The Wildest Brother :: The Best of McSweeney's, Vol. 2 :: Jennifer Government
Mita
Five stars for the seventeen-year-old girl. I love this book.
Sabrina
This book is so great to read if you like action. I would recommend this book to men and women and also young adults. This book is about a girl who is 17, 7 months pregnant and has hardly any money. One day her and her boyfriend are going somewhere. She realizes that she has lost her shoes and she has had to pee for a long time. He takes her to Walmart and he leaves her. She has to stay at Walmart for a while because she has no where else to go. she meets this man named Forney and he works at th This book is so great to read if you like action. I would recommend this book to men and women and also young adults. This book is about a girl who is 17, 7 months pregnant and has hardly any money. One day her and her boyfriend are going somewhere. She realizes that she has lost her shoes and she has had to pee for a long time. He takes her to Walmart and he leaves her. She has to stay at Walmart for a while because she has no where else to go. she meets this man named Forney and he works at the library. She ended up having the baby in Walmart but Forney was there to help her deliver. She has a girl and she names her Americus. she moves in with this woman and they take care of each other. Everytime the month, year or even day started with seven she knew something bad was going to happen to her. By the end she told Forney that she loved him and that she wanted him to come back. She takes Ricky (her babies daddy) home. I did not like that the book ends with her talking ricky home. i wanted to see if Forney was coming back for her. i liked how Forney loved her even if she didn't love him at that moment.
Darian
I'm not going to sugar coat it. I wish I could give this book a 0.5, because it most defiantly deserves it. Firstly I couldn't stand Novalee throughout the whole Novel. She is the most brainless protagonist I've ever read into and the decisions she makes are absolutely idiotic. Another huge problem I had with this book was all the plot holes. Theres so many questions that were left unanswered. Letts skimmed through timelines and shoved in unrealistic and inaccurate events. Yes, it was easy to re I'm not going to sugar coat it. I wish I could give this book a 0.5, because it most defiantly deserves it. Firstly I couldn't stand Novalee throughout the whole Novel. She is the most brainless protagonist I've ever read into and the decisions she makes are absolutely idiotic. Another huge problem I had with this book was all the plot holes. Theres so many questions that were left unanswered. Letts skimmed through timelines and shoved in unrealistic and inaccurate events. Yes, it was easy to read however that doesn't justify the poor and sappy writing. Maybe it's largely because I wasn't a fan of the whole premise. Perhaps if Letts had organized the novel revolving around the birth of her child things would have turned out better. Sadly, I would not recommend this novel to anyone unless they're using it for fire kindle.
Jennifer
I read this book when I was in high school and decided to reread it for my Oprah's book club book prompt for Pop Sugar's reading challenge. This is still a 5 star read for me, I love it just as much this time as I did back then and I love Billie Letts's writing style, she was a great storyteller.
Allison Barilone
Love it. Was inspired to read the book after seeing the movie.
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.
Gayle
I...LOVED...THIS...BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!! And it's so hard for me to explain why, if YOU haven't read it! It's quirky at times, I admit that, but that just added to the total overall appeal of this ever-growing, heart-warming story. I fell in love with Novalee, the main character, right from the beginning, but I can't exactly pinpoint WHY..but trust me when I say that as the story goes on, you will see very quickly why she is so lovable! I laughed, and cried, and worried, and celebrated, and shrieked I...LOVED...THIS...BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!! And it's so hard for me to explain why, if YOU haven't read it! It's quirky at times, I admit that, but that just added to the total overall appeal of this ever-growing, heart-warming story. I fell in love with Novalee, the main character, right from the beginning, but I can't exactly pinpoint WHY..but trust me when I say that as the story goes on, you will see very quickly why she is so lovable! I laughed, and cried, and worried, and celebrated, and shrieked throughout the entire book. It's an awesome story about HOME, love, TRUE friendship, family, and how you need to grab onto what's RIGHT when it finally hits you on the head!

Here are some of my favorite lines from the book:
".....No, not a lot of folks do. But listen. You're gonna die. But your name's not. No. It's gonna be written in somebody's Bible, printed in some newspaper. Cut into your gravestone. See that name has a history. And home is the place where your history begins...and that history is gonna be there when you're not."

"...Novalee could hardly imagine that one tiny creature could create so much love. And that was the problem: the more Novalee loved her, the more she feared she might lose her."

"...Well, sometimes love seems easy. Like...it's easy to love rain...and hawks. And it's easy to love wild plums...and the moon. But with people, seems like love's a hard thing to know. It gets all mixed up. I mean, you can love one person in one way and another person in another way. But how do you know you love the right one in every way?"

"...Why does anyone lie? 'Cause we're scared or crazy, maybe just 'cause we're mean. I guess there's a million reasons to lie, and I might've told that many...but none like that. I guess there's always that one lie we never get over. Oh, maybe you don't know about it yet. Maybe you never told a lie so big it can eat away a part of you. But if you ever do...and if you get lucky...you might get a chance to set it right. Just one chance to change it. Then it's gone. And it never comes again."

I wish I had chosen THIS book as my Book Club selection!!!

(Working my way thru the FOREVER-growing pile of books I have.)
Jennifer Hughes
I've struggled for a few days of how to review this. When I started reading, there were elements of the book that I enjoyed. It had a kind of quirkiness going for it like a Coen brothers movie, but the book just kind of spun its wheels instead of moving somewhere. There came a point when I realized that things were not going to improve in plot, characterization, and writing. There are a lot of fans of this book, and it's one of Oprah's picks (which is actually usually a flag to me to run away). I've struggled for a few days of how to review this. When I started reading, there were elements of the book that I enjoyed. It had a kind of quirkiness going for it like a Coen brothers movie, but the book just kind of spun its wheels instead of moving somewhere. There came a point when I realized that things were not going to improve in plot, characterization, and writing. There are a lot of fans of this book, and it's one of Oprah's picks (which is actually usually a flag to me to run away). So why didn't I like it?

There's a reason why stereotypes become stereotypes. Enough people existed with certain qualities to bestow on those qualities almost a life of their own as a sentient being. When does a character step over that line between plausible and stereotype? Sometimes it's tough to tell. I believed the characters in this book for several chapters but increasingly felt that these "people" were given less than they deserved. My feeling overall was that they were two-dimensional characters that the author tried to flesh out by giving them quirks that were outside the stereotype, instead of quirky characters who happened to have some stereotypic elements. On top of this, the plot was contrived and the prose not my favorite.

I'm not saying that Billie Letts is not a capable writer, since she is, after all, a professor and a published author who has drawn the attention of bigwigs like Oprah. All I can truly say is that this book fell flat for me. That and that I must steer clear of Oprah's book club in the future unless it is something by Toni Morrison or Maya Angelou.
Paige Erin
You could watch the movie of this, but you would not get the full effect of the pure unadulterated, classic happy ending. The movie adaption of this book has fallen into average 90's sappy rom-com status, I believe this is so because the movie does not fully evoke the greatness of Billie Letts' characters. This book is an angsty feel good romantic coming of age story, but it has a great set of characters sometimes doing terrible things, and coming off all the more realistic because of it.

Most pe You could watch the movie of this, but you would not get the full effect of the pure unadulterated, classic happy ending. The movie adaption of this book has fallen into average 90's sappy rom-com status, I believe this is so because the movie does not fully evoke the greatness of Billie Letts' characters. This book is an angsty feel good romantic coming of age story, but it has a great set of characters sometimes doing terrible things, and coming off all the more realistic because of it.

Most people know the basics of the plot: teenage southern girl gives birth in Wal-Mart and raises her baby, learning to love and be loved along the way. There is also drama and angst and nerdy lovers galore. Forney Hull I believe was one of the first nerd dreamboats-correct me if I am wrong, and I love this book not for its revolutionary plot, or technical skill of the authors writing, but because I am a sucker for a plain Jane happy ending, and warm feelings in my gut, which this book provides in spades.

Though... I thought the ending was a little anti-climactic and very abrupt so that decreases from the rating but I'm not sure that it decreases a full star.

I really enjoyed the literary passion of the characters, particularly that of Forney Hull. The book definitely put me in the mood to visit my local library and that was really cool.

When to read this: This book is literal (figuratively ha!) sunshine, read it on a sunny day in a sun room overlooking a garden and shady yard with a tall glass of iced tea or sugar water and appreciate not living in Tornado Alley.
Jemma
This book, like its title, is full of heart and I just loved it. Novalee Nation is a 17 year old who is pregnant, naive and used to being treated like trash. She is abandoned at the Walmart by her boyfriend and meets a few people that day who will become very important to her, though she doesn't know it yet. With no home, family or money, she secretly lived in the Walmart, making the best of things, until the night she gives birth there. Suddenly she is famous, her baby touted the 'Walmart Baby' This book, like its title, is full of heart and I just loved it. Novalee Nation is a 17 year old who is pregnant, naive and used to being treated like trash. She is abandoned at the Walmart by her boyfriend and meets a few people that day who will become very important to her, though she doesn't know it yet. With no home, family or money, she secretly lived in the Walmart, making the best of things, until the night she gives birth there. Suddenly she is famous, her baby touted the 'Walmart Baby', and a lady she met on the first day - the eccentric, loveable, blue haired Thelma Husband, takes her in to live in her humble trailer home. She and her baby girl Americus come into their own in the community of people who adore them, including Forney - the quirky librarian who expands their world through a love of literature and learning and who comes to mean much more; Moses Whitecotton, a proud Black man who helps Novalee with her passion for photography and becomes a dear friend; Lexie, who goes from man to man and has several children named after snack foods; and Benny, a Native American Indian boy who gave her a lucky Buckeye tree on the day she arrived. This story covers a span of years and describes too the parallel path of her ex boyfriend's self-destructive spiral through prison, musical fame and ruin. This book is gritty, tear-jerking, nostalgic and heartwarming all at once. A beautiful read.
hattie
this book is about a girl who is 17 years old and her name is Novalee Nation. Novalee and her boyfriend Willy-Jack Pickett are moving to Las Vegas so Willy-Jack can get a job uop there with his uncle in the manufacturing business. Novalee is 7 months pregnant and as we all know when women are prganant they have to pee...a lot. Novalee asks Willy-Jack to stop at Walmart so she may use the restroom and get some house shoes because the car that Willy-Jack bought for $50 has a hole in the floorboard this book is about a girl who is 17 years old and her name is Novalee Nation. Novalee and her boyfriend Willy-Jack Pickett are moving to Las Vegas so Willy-Jack can get a job uop there with his uncle in the manufacturing business. Novalee is 7 months pregnant and as we all know when women are prganant they have to pee...a lot. Novalee asks Willy-Jack to stop at Walmart so she may use the restroom and get some house shoes because the car that Willy-Jack bought for $50 has a hole in the floorboard and Novalees shoes fell through. Navolee goes into the store and does her business but when Novalee walks out of the store Willy-jack is not there. Willy-Jack has left her! Novalee has no where to go. She is in the middle of nowhere is Seqouia, Oklahoma. So since Novalee has nowhere to go she stays in the Walmart. Novalee is there for 2 months before anybody even notices. One day, Novalee goes to the library and and meets a guy named Forney. So, Forney follows her one day and it so happens to be that , that same night Novalee has her baby in the Walmart! Forney then comes to her rescue by jumping through the plate glass window and delivers her baby for her. Novalee meets people throughout her journey and ends up staying with them. They're names are Thelma "Sister" Husband and Mr. Sprock. At the end of the book, Novalee Marries Forney and Novalee, Forney, and Americus (her baby girl)live happily ever after in Seqouia, Oklahoma.
Megan
Wow, what an amazing book! I really enjoyed reading this! Took a while due to the holidays, but nonetheless enjoyed it!

"Where The Heart" Is is all about a pregnant Novalee Nation who gets abandoned in the middle of nowhere at a Walmart by her boyfriend, Willy Jack. Throughout the book you follow the lives of Novalee Nation and Willy Jack for seven years, watching their ups and downs.

I ate this book up.

The story of Novalee Nation was so intriguing. The stuff she goes through, the people she mee Wow, what an amazing book! I really enjoyed reading this! Took a while due to the holidays, but nonetheless enjoyed it!

"Where The Heart" Is is all about a pregnant Novalee Nation who gets abandoned in the middle of nowhere at a Walmart by her boyfriend, Willy Jack. Throughout the book you follow the lives of Novalee Nation and Willy Jack for seven years, watching their ups and downs.

I ate this book up.

The story of Novalee Nation was so intriguing. The stuff she goes through, the people she meets... It was all just so interesting to me. You were rooting for her all the way during the book, while screaming at Willy Jack to just disappear already in his small bits of the book. Not only is Novalee interesting, but the minor characters she meets along the way that become her best friends keep the reader curious and on their toes: Sister Husband, Forney Hull, Lexie Coop, Moses Whitecotten, etc. You become so attached to everyone you meet in this book sometimes it feels like they've become even your own friends.

Something I found very interesting in this book was Novalee's fear of things with the number seven. During the book, she gets so afraid of doing anything with that one number in it because all of her life, with seven's, she has experienced awful things. However, at the end of the book, I was convinced that the seven's did anything but that. She might have experienced these awful things, but it was all for good reasons. Without getting pregnant at seventeen, she wouldn't have Americus. Without getting left behind in that Walmart in the seventh month of her pregnancy, she would have never met all these important people in her life that changed her. Without Americus' seventh birthday and the seventh page in the newspaper, Novalee would have never gotten the closure she needed with Willy Jack and she would have never changed her mind about lying to Forney and if Forney didn't answer on the seventh ring, she would have never gotten her second chance to make things right.

Another thing I found interesting was what Willy Jack said at the end of the book about how he's only done two things in his life that were good and mattered (helping conceive Americus and writing a song), but I would say that there is one more in thing in that list that was good, which was leaving Novalee in that Walmart because even though it was shitty in the moment, it did her good. Without that moment, Novalee's life would probably be a lot worse.

My favorite characters in this book were Novalee and Americus Nation, Sister Husband, Moses Whitecotten, Lexie Coop, Forney Hull, and Benny Goodluck. I also liked Mr. Sprock. Where The Heart Is has a lot of heart within its pages (which makes sense with the title) covering topics like love, friendship, loss, and what you do when your life doesn't necessarily go the way you planned it. If you've seen the movie, like myself, I can honestly say the movie is a spot on adaptation to the book. It's pretty accurate to what happens in the book although some small things are taken out.

Overall, I was really impressed with Billie Letts' book and (because I liked this so much) I might check out more of her stuff. She's really good at foreshadowing and very eloquent at writing especially when summing up the end of chapters. She makes everything connect together, which just made me so impressed. Loved it!
Stephanie A.
How I found this book is a bit of a story on its own. After reading The Shelf, I decided to see what my own library's LEQ-LES shelf looked like. It didn't meet the guidelines the author gave herself in that book, so I looked at the next one and became most intrigued by a pair of Billie Letts titles despite never having heard of her before.

Now, I am familiar with the existence of a movie by this title, but I never saw it or knew the plot, so until I got home and looked up the book on Goodreads I How I found this book is a bit of a story on its own. After reading The Shelf, I decided to see what my own library's LEQ-LES shelf looked like. It didn't meet the guidelines the author gave herself in that book, so I looked at the next one and became most intrigued by a pair of Billie Letts titles despite never having heard of her before.

Now, I am familiar with the existence of a movie by this title, but I never saw it or knew the plot, so until I got home and looked up the book on Goodreads I honestly had not made the connection that this book and the movie were one and the same. I proceeded to high five myself for making excellent reading choices, because it happens to be a movie I've always kind of wanted to see.

After reading the book, I went ahead and high fived a million angels because it was SO GOOD. Even though the Willy Jack chapters were mostly very creepy and made my skin crawl, and there is some seriously awful brutal violence (not just in his chapters), I could not get over how in love I was with this world and all its other characters.

Novalee, none too smart but the sweetest and most good-hearted person imaginable made me love her on the spot, so it's easy to see why everyone takes her under their wing. Sister Husband was just as much of a sweetheart. Forney, de facto librarian, was adorable and my fingers curled with happiness about the way he hovered on the edges taking care of Novalee and later her daughter with a huge focus on books and learning, his lovelorn nature evident long before it was acknowledged.

The whole setting, really, was just a perfect representation of small town America, and I thought it was interesting to have Wal-Mart be such a central focus because the book is set in the late 80s and very early 90s, when -- as far as I could tell -- the retailer did not have quite such a bad reputation.

I also though it was great that the novel covered a few years, allowing us to see her daughter growing up, and seeing Novalee herself grow into an independent, confident, hardworking young woman. My one disappointment with the pacing was the end: the events of the actual ending should have come sooner, with more chapters about her life (view spoiler)[WITH Forney. You can't make me wait an entire book on tenterhooks and then yell "cut" right at the happy beginning. What are you, the British version of The Office? (hide spoiler)]
Jessica
4.5 stars. I really liked this novel! I didn't like Novalee's name, but I have to get over it! I didn't think that the story was going to be over the course of about 7 years, and I was surprised by that. Really liked this one! Part 1: Novalee is driving to CA with her bf Willy Jack. She has to pee because she's 7 months pregnant. Willy Jack givers her $10 to buy something after she goes to the bathroom at a Walmart. He leaves Novalee there and she doesn't know what to do. She has $7.77 and nothi 4.5 stars. I really liked this novel! I didn't like Novalee's name, but I have to get over it! I didn't think that the story was going to be over the course of about 7 years, and I was surprised by that. Really liked this one! Part 1: Novalee is driving to CA with her bf Willy Jack. She has to pee because she's 7 months pregnant. Willy Jack givers her $10 to buy something after she goes to the bathroom at a Walmart. He leaves Novalee there and she doesn't know what to do. She has $7.77 and nothing else. She meets a young boy and he and his dad give her a tree. For the next two months she secretly lives in the Walmart. She meets Sister Husband who helps her. She also meets Forney at the library. He teaches her a lot of stuff. Novalee has her baby, a girl she named Americus. Then because she had the baby in Walmart she becomes a big deal. Novalee is overwhelmed by all of the people and reporters. Her mother comes because she saw Novalee on the news. Her mother is still living a sucky life. Sam Walton (owner of Walmart) offers Novalee a job and gives her some cash. Novalee is being taken care of by Forney and Sister Husband. We learn that Willy Jack tried picking up a girl to help get to CA. He was only using her to get money. He ends up in jail and gets beat up multiple times. After talking with the nurse, he gets a guitar and writes a song that sells over a million copies. Part 2: Novalee's daughter is stolen but then the police find her. They think these two religious people took her. Novalee lives with the Whitecotton's. She thinks she's pregnant 9 hours after sleeping with a guy. The guy works at the auto repair shop but they don't last. Novalee learns that Forney's sister is an alcoholic and she's 10 or 20 years older than him. She also finds a love for photography. Willy Jack gets a record deal. Part 3: Novalee's picture wins a contest. She is making her way west 3 years after she initially started (beginning of book). It's now 1991. Everyone is excited and she takes Forney with her. The couple who took Americus are still in prison but Novalee still worries. The photo was of Benny Goodluck (boy who gave her the tree) running while the sun was rising. There's a bad storm and a few of Novalee's people die, including some of her friends and Sister Husband. Novalee was informed that they aren't going to rebuild the Walmart so she doesn't have a job. She can get a job 50 miles away but she likes where she is now. Lexie (her friend) tells her that Forney loves her (she doesn't believe her but he totally has a crush on her). Novalee meets Ray (Sister sponsored him) who was from AA. Sister Husband had a will. Willy Jack talks to a guy who could sponsor him. A woman calls and says another person has the copyrights to a some he claims he wrote. His agent Ruth Meyers hangs up and I think their relationship is over. It's a few years later and Americus is about to start kindergarten. There's a terrible snow/ice storm in April. Novalee now works at the Walmart 50 miles away and she has trouble driving home. Forney comes over every night to care and read to Americus. Novalee seems happy.Novalee begins getting photography jobs. One was of Benny's teacher's wedding. Benny and Novalee talk about love and she says that she thinks she is in love. Novalee is sorting through many photographs after multiple jobs she has gotten when she gets a call from Brownie who is one of Lexi's six (or so) children. He's barely speaking so Novalee goes over to Lexi's place and finds a few of the children rattled and Lexi beaten almost to death. She does know what happened until later. Novalee and others help take care of the family. Lexi is pretty beaten up and eventually tells Novalee that a guy, Roger Briscoe (I think one of her baby daddy's and boyfriend), came into the house, raped her son, and while he tried to put his penis in her young daughters' mouth Lexi went in and tried to stop him. She was unsuccessful and Roger ran away. The police are looking for him. Novalee receives a flier for a college course about photography. During the first class Novalee feels very awkward and out of place. She wears nothing like the student and doesn't know how a college student should act since she didn't get passed 10th grade. Throughout the course, Novalee learns a lot (and so did I!) and I think she's having a good time. Willy Jack is struggling. He drinks a lot and doesn't get gigs very often. He gets put in jail for a few days. Life is rough for him but he isn't making the smartest choices. Part 4: it's a few years later and Lexie has lost a lot of weight due to getting beat up. The library burns down and while Novalee is talking to Forney he explains that one day when he was in first grade his dad didn't come and pick him up from school like he usually did. Then his sister got up on a staged and danced. This was the last time Forney saw her smile. He was the only person at her funeral (she lived in the library). Forney and Novalee kiss. Novalee is in love with Forney and she does weird things like everyone when their in love. While Forney was burying his sister, Novalee learns that when he was younger living in Maine his family didn't seem happy. Now that he is 'free' from his sister he can do whatever he wants. He was attending college for education when his sister got sick. The woman also says the mayor's daughter will take over the library. Forney calls from Maine and tells Novalee that he loves her. Novalee lies and says that she doesn't love him the way that he needs to be loved (like they have a more friend type of relationship). Forney doesn't come back and Americus is devastated. They also talk about him and what he is going to do now. Novalee starts to mess up things, like misspelling her name. Americus gets a letter from Forney say sing he misses her and also details about the books he sent. He says 'please tell your mother I extend my best wishes.' Sometimes a bunch of letters come at once (and a long time between receiving them) and others one by one. Novalee starts tracking the letters to find out where Forney is. She learns he is in Chicago and she calls the bookstore he works at but she doesn't respond when he answers. Lexie gets married to a nice guy named Leon. He has two kids and he cares about him, Lexie, and her kids. His ex wife just up and left him and their two kids. Novalee photographs the wedding. One night Benny is going to prom, Novalee finds him. He lies about having a date and going to prom. He kind of makes a move on Novalee but she says she isn't interested (and 25 years old). They do kiss though but nothing else happens. Americus recently turned 7 and Novalee is worried because 7 is her unlucky #. News comes one day when she reads in the newspaper that W.J. Pickens (baby daddy and Novalee's ex boyfriend) is in the hospital after his wheelchair was stolen while he was in a bathroom. He was hitchhiking and he guy who helped him stole it. He lost the lower half of his legs in a train accident. Novalee goes to the hospital and asks him why he was coming to find her and Americus. Willy Jack knows his daughter's name prior to Novalee telling him because of his cousin. He apologised for messing up and being stupid. He says he lied when Novalee had him feel the heartbeat. He did feel it. Then she calls Forney and she tells him she lied and that she loves him. Then Novalee takes Willy Jack to where he needs to go. While driving, Novalee remembers/envisions herself and the people she met at the beginning of the novel. She is happy!
Alienor
I have always been fascinated with the concept of 'white trash' and trailer parks. I am fascinated by them because there is nothing similar to be found in either my birth country or my adoptive one, and because of the love-hate relationship America seems to have with its own residents - the ones who seemingly love it the most. From my naive outsider's perspective, America is a beautiful, vain woman ashamed of the love of an ugly man.

Novalee Nation fits the bill - pregnant at 17, she's never liv I have always been fascinated with the concept of 'white trash' and trailer parks. I am fascinated by them because there is nothing similar to be found in either my birth country or my adoptive one, and because of the love-hate relationship America seems to have with its own residents - the ones who seemingly love it the most. From my naive outsider's perspective, America is a beautiful, vain woman ashamed of the love of an ugly man.

Novalee Nation fits the bill - pregnant at 17, she's never lived in a house that didn't have wheels, she's stuck in a relationship with a man who is very obviously not good for her (or anyone), she has few prospects and she's uneducated and naive. Her naivety is what will eventually save her - Novalee trusts virtually anyone, and that works out unexpectedly well for her.

If nothing else, this novel is a lesson in trust. With a few exceptions which seem to appear mostly as generic, one-dimensional representations of "the bad", all the characters are kind, selfless, trusting and open. While this does not make for a realistic novel, it does make for a nice feel-good read with an uplifting story and very attaching characters. There is something to be said for anything that makes you feel better than you were feeling before, and this book does a brilliant job of making you feel warm, fuzzy and optimistic.

My only complaint is, as I mentioned before, the generic aspect to the "bad" people, chief among them Willy Jack, the runaway baby-daddy. I had little to no interest in the Willy Jack segments and I ended up skimming through them. I'm not quite sure what the intention behind these chapters was. There is little insight into Willy Jack as a character, virtually no redemption (save for a drunken epiphany and a rather anticlimactic scene at the very end of the book), and it all comes off as a rather jarring bit of schadenfreude. Thankfully, these chapters are few and far between and have very little impact on the rest of the story.
Vbug28
This book really is just beautifully written in my opinion. I actually saw the movie first and wondered if there was a book about it
Sure and behold I found it and just had to read it. I'm so so glad i did!
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 This book really is just beautifully written in my opinion. I actually saw the movie first and wondered if there was a book about it
Sure and behold I found it and just had to read it. I'm so so glad i did!
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.
Hannah-Linn
I read this book in...hhhhhmmmm....sixth grade, maybe seventh. I don't know why I'm just writing a review for it now.

It is, my favorite book of all time. Plain and simple.
This may sound bad, but it started with the movie. It's my mom's favorite movie, and the first time I saw it I was maybe eight years old.
It's my favorite movie, along with Gone With The Wind and Pretty in Pink.

I know I read the book after I saw the movie, but nonetheless it's my favorite book and movie. I love it with all my I read this book in...hhhhhmmmm....sixth grade, maybe seventh. I don't know why I'm just writing a review for it now.

It is, my favorite book of all time. Plain and simple.
This may sound bad, but it started with the movie. It's my mom's favorite movie, and the first time I saw it I was maybe eight years old.
It's my favorite movie, along with Gone With The Wind and Pretty in Pink.

I know I read the book after I saw the movie, but nonetheless it's my favorite book and movie. I love it with all my heart.

I think It's just because I can relate to it a lot, in certain ways. Not so much by what happens in the book, but more so in the characters and in the attitude of the book and the way I came to read the book itself.

To me, this book is a classic. I may upset some people by saying that by the way, because I know some people freak out when you say that about a book. but it's just what I feel. I think if you haven't read the book that you should, because it's really....innocent. But at the same time, brings up a heck of a lot of issues. And, just as a warning I'm going to say, you will cry. You will cry and cry and cry. If you don't, then you can yell at me, but you're the one without a soul. And I'll piss you off because I'll say something like "Good luck with your life without a soul" And I'll be angry because You'll yell at me more and I'll say something stupid again like "Hey look, maybe it does have a soul. And evil one." and we'll just keep arguing because I'll feel the need to defend my book. That's right, my book........ anyway. I love this book.
Kaylie
Home is where the heart is and though Novalee has never had a home without wheels, she learns just how big others’ hearts are. 17-year-old Novalee hasn’t had much luck in life. Her mother abandoned her, she’s tossed from foster home to trailer parks throughout her life, and gets pregnant by an awful man, Willy Jack, who promptly deserts her at Wal-Mart. Thus begins her whirlwind adventure of living and later giving birth to Americus at that very Wal-Mart. While there, she meets a handful of peop Home is where the heart is and though Novalee has never had a home without wheels, she learns just how big others’ hearts are. 17-year-old Novalee hasn’t had much luck in life. Her mother abandoned her, she’s tossed from foster home to trailer parks throughout her life, and gets pregnant by an awful man, Willy Jack, who promptly deserts her at Wal-Mart. Thus begins her whirlwind adventure of living and later giving birth to Americus at that very Wal-Mart. While there, she meets a handful of people, and Novalee’s story changes. Sister Husband, a woman with striking blue hair and a dedication to handing Bible verses to strangers, takes her in (to yet another trailer). Moses Whitecotton teaches her photography and the importance of names. And Forney, my favorite character, shows Novalee how books change lives and that love knows no boundaries.

Sometimes, you just have to read a book about finding goodness in the midst of tragedy, and Where the Heart Is does just that. By the novel’s end, Novalee’s in college, wins awards for photography, and finds a true home for herself (with a roof and many people to love). This is an endearing book, balanced with calamity and hope. The characters, funky names and all, feel genuinely real, and Novalee’s development is remarkable. She truly learns to love both herself and others. The plot never felt forced, despite so much happening. Throughout reading, I am reminded of the naive optimism of the American Dream, and I bet the film adaption has the same feeling.
Belkis
One of my favorite stories of ALL TIME! Own the book and Loved it! Own the movie and Loved it! This is one of those stories that just guts you open. Rips your heart out of your chest and squeezes it gently ever just so. You know the gentle squeeze. The one that makes you silently. gasp. Yes, like that. Just enough to bring you to your senses where you can glimpse with clarity which things are the ones worth living for. Fighting for. Dying for. Marvelous storytelling and a moving story about the One of my favorite stories of ALL TIME! Own the book and Loved it! Own the movie and Loved it! This is one of those stories that just guts you open. Rips your heart out of your chest and squeezes it gently ever just so. You know the gentle squeeze. The one that makes you silently. gasp. Yes, like that. Just enough to bring you to your senses where you can glimpse with clarity which things are the ones worth living for. Fighting for. Dying for. Marvelous storytelling and a moving story about the graciousness of human kindness at it's best, the strength to reach for courage, the zeal to fight for your dreams, and the love of friends and strangers that become the family by choice that was not afforded the poor main character Novalee Nation by blood.

Novalee Nation finds herself pregnant, stranded and abandoned by her no good boyfriend and father of her unborn child, on the side of the road. In a strange town in the middle of nowhere in a town in the state of Oklahoma without money or resources. She comes to find that in spite of seeing this moment as the lowest in her life it becomes in fact the turning point for the best moments of her life. With the help, love, support and generosity of this town she and her baby find a true home. For anyone wanting to laugh and cry and marvel and sigh over a beautiful story, unbelievably realistic characters, wonderfully poignant sentiments, and eloquently written words, just pick this book up and dream quietly inside its pages.
Abeer Sabri
Honestly, I wasn't the biggest fan of this book. I found it very hard to stay invested in the story and I think it was mainly due to the fact that I didn't find Novalee that interesting of a character. I think the narrative made her seem extremely annoying. If it was in her point of view, I might have been able to better understand her thought process, but that wasn't the case. I felt the author's attempt to make her seem naive backfired and made her appear more unintelligent if anything else.

A Honestly, I wasn't the biggest fan of this book. I found it very hard to stay invested in the story and I think it was mainly due to the fact that I didn't find Novalee that interesting of a character. I think the narrative made her seem extremely annoying. If it was in her point of view, I might have been able to better understand her thought process, but that wasn't the case. I felt the author's attempt to make her seem naive backfired and made her appear more unintelligent if anything else.

Apart from Willy Jack, the rest of the characters were much more likeable and easy to relate to. I really appreciated that Novalee's character changed throughout the book as well. Forney was probably my favourite character as I felt we had more in common. I think that everyone feels like Forney at some point in their lives.

Willy Jack's story being incorporated in the book didn't really grab my interest either. I think it just distracted away from the other story I was already having to try really hard to focus on. His story didn't really add suspense or anything for me but it did make me really angry that he was successful, even if it was just for a short period of time.

I also hated how some things in the story dragged on forever, while others happened much too quickly. There was a period of time where it just seemed really rushed and a long period of time was fit into a few chapters; just really inconsistent and not enjoyable to read in my opinion.
Pamela
I've seen the movie version of this book, so I already knew the whole story, but it still felt like an entirely new story to me. While a lot of things were the same, there were some things that were different, things that were left out of the movie.

One of my favorite things about this book is the message that family doesn't have to consist of blood relatives. Family can be all of the people in your life who mean the most to you. The people who go out of their way to see how you're doing when yo I've seen the movie version of this book, so I already knew the whole story, but it still felt like an entirely new story to me. While a lot of things were the same, there were some things that were different, things that were left out of the movie.

One of my favorite things about this book is the message that family doesn't have to consist of blood relatives. Family can be all of the people in your life who mean the most to you. The people who go out of their way to see how you're doing when you're sick or feeling depressed, the people who are there to celebrate with you when you get that promotion or win an award. Families don't have to be perfect, mom-and-dad-and-two-kids-happy kind of families. Home is truly where the heart is.

Ok, so the other thing I really liked about this book is that Walmart was a big part of it. I work at Walmart, so when Novalee still drove 50 miles just to work there, because she felt connected to Walmart, I got that. I live nearly 30 minutes from the store I work at. When I started there, I lived a lot closer. I now live 10 minutes from another store. I could've transferred, but my coworkers had become a bit like family by that time, so I still make the commute. I have a connection to Walmart and the family that I've gained there.

All in all, I really liked this book. I'm glad I decided to read it.
Jacob Dinis
Where the Heart was a fantastic book in concept but in execution became a bit lacklustre. The colourful cast of characters and interesting events caught my attention, but many of these events seemed to be glazed over, and the characters, aside from one or two of the main ones, lacked development or dialogue altogether. Characters such as Benny Goodluck who had the potential to be an interesting detailed character felt almost forced in as the book went on, that an idea needed a figurehead and he Where the Heart was a fantastic book in concept but in execution became a bit lacklustre. The colourful cast of characters and interesting events caught my attention, but many of these events seemed to be glazed over, and the characters, aside from one or two of the main ones, lacked development or dialogue altogether. Characters such as Benny Goodluck who had the potential to be an interesting detailed character felt almost forced in as the book went on, that an idea needed a figurehead and he was available. Additionally, the main character, Novalee Nation, felt almost unfeeling as events happened in her life. Much of Novalee's feelings were said rather than shown. I felt like I was being told how Novalee felt rather than experiencing it. It came to a point where I looked forward to perspectives changing, because in the secondary subplot of Willy Jack, Novalee's ex-boyfriend, characters are more frequently introduced without having any story. It was frustrating to be introduced to these unique characters and never get closure on them, and it felt more satisfying to only be introduced to them and not explore them lest they be abandoned later on. I really wanted to like this book for it's characters, but it's lack of use of those characters held it back.
Sara
Tracy Letts (son of the author) wrote August: Osage County, and I recommend experiencing both as they complement each other.

One could argue that this novel is not high literature; there are places where it could be tightened; nonetheless, the lightness and simplicity of its tone and some plot elements are deceptive. There is meaning here that extends beyond superficial kitsch. I have a soft spot in my heart for this book, because I am endeared by the story and its characters, because its focus o Tracy Letts (son of the author) wrote August: Osage County, and I recommend experiencing both as they complement each other.

One could argue that this novel is not high literature; there are places where it could be tightened; nonetheless, the lightness and simplicity of its tone and some plot elements are deceptive. There is meaning here that extends beyond superficial kitsch. I have a soft spot in my heart for this book, because I am endeared by the story and its characters, because its focus on rural poverty and its folktale-esque treatment of same are uncommon and, indeed, unique, respectively, and because both of those elements drawn on personal connections for me.

Novalee is a great character, not because of any particular trait (though I do appreciate her quirkiness), but because she changes meaningfully through what could be described as a humdrum (and in many ways otherwise untold) series of life events. The book is comfort reading, but in a more than self-care sense. Though I was never a teen mom, Novalee's story feels like my own, and I continue to find solace in it.
Jasmine
First of all, I would like to mention that I have no intentions to dissuade anyone from reading this book, as everyone has different tastes in what they enjoy to read. That being said, Where the Heart Is is the worst book that I have ever read in my entire life.

Overall, the premise of the story is quirky and could be enjoyable if executed well. Instead, I found myself exasperated throughout the entire novel. Where the Heart Is seems to only consist of clichés, predictability, and failed attempt First of all, I would like to mention that I have no intentions to dissuade anyone from reading this book, as everyone has different tastes in what they enjoy to read. That being said, Where the Heart Is is the worst book that I have ever read in my entire life.

Overall, the premise of the story is quirky and could be enjoyable if executed well. Instead, I found myself exasperated throughout the entire novel. Where the Heart Is seems to only consist of clichés, predictability, and failed attempts at being profound. At no point in the novel did I ever feel engaged, or even able to care for many of the characters. Also, the time jumps in the book did not at all make me like it more, and they might have been confusing if the book was not so simply written.

The protagonist of the book is Novalee Nation, who is 17 years old and 7 months pregnant at the beginning of the novel, and is 25 years old by the end. Novalee is portrayed as naive at the beginning of her journey, when she is abandoned by her boyfriend, Willy Jack at a Walmart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma.

The reader sees a very changed Novalee by the end of the book than they did at the beginning, but in my opinion, her actual growth is scarcely evident (if it is evident at all). Instead, you see Novalee somehow become an independent woman that people go to for guidance, without knowing how she developed to this new person from the naive girl from the beginning.

Another issue I had with the book is the relationships Novalee forms. She meets numerous unique characters who help her improve herself and get on her feet, but they all appear to be tools for furthering Novalee’s character rather than authentic characters with their own lives. There is Sister Husband, a mother figure to Novalee who helps her take care of Americus shortly after having the baby. Sister tragically dies, but it seemed forced to drive the plot so Novalee could get money to build a house. Also, after Sister dies, she is barely mentioned again. Moses Whitecotton, a kind and elderly photographer, is another character she meets, and he is actually a very endearing character, but is only mentioned a few times, so does not improve my opinion on the book. Another character is Lexie Coop, who becomes a best friend to Novalee, and they both help each other with their children. Lexie is obsessed with men and relationships with them, and it is close to the only subject she and Novalee talk about other than their children. I found this uncomfortable because they are both caring mothers who, in my opinion, do not need to define their self worth based on their relationship to men.

This leads to one of the characters I am most uncomfortable with: Forney Hull. Forney Hull is Novalee’s love interest in the novel. He is a shy librarian, but when you get to know him, he is supposedly very sweet and caring. He is also a character who could be endearing if written well, but instead, I found him creepy (to say the least). For most of the book, his age is not stated, but when it is, I immediately grew even more uncomfortable with him. When Forney is 36 years old, Novalee is 24 years old. That is an age difference of 12 years. Meaning, when Novalee first met Forney, she was a teenager and he was 30. That makes the birthday party he organised for her even more creepy. He had dinner alone with a pregnant teenager he barely knew who he served alcohol to. Also, I found what might appear to be endearing devotion to be close to stalking. While Novalee lives in the Walmart, he simply watches her, and one day that creepy behaviour comes into use because Novalee is about to give birth, and Forney breaks the store window and delivers her baby. Forney seems to be in love with Novalee since Day 1, but the reader never actually sees Novalee fall in love with him. Instead, she loves to read, loves photography, loves her daughter, and loves Forney as a close friend. Then suddenly, they sleep together right after Forney’s sister dies (which I found very unsettling and predictable). Forney leaves after this due to a cliche about Novalee denying her deep feelings of love (that she seemed to develop out of thin air) because she is not worthy of the love of a man, and her reaction to Forney leaving the state seems to be more painful than when Sister Husband died. Whether or not this was the case, that was how the author chose to write it, which I think could have been done better.

Novale finally realizes that she is worthy of Forney after speaking to Willy Jack in the hospital. Throughout the book, his story continues, and while he is an awful person who does not impact Novalee at all until the end, his narrative is refreshing compared to the rather boring life of Novalee. I personally did not find the end to be impactful (or any of the book, for that matter).

There are also many strange unnecessary elements to the novel that are frustrating to read about. Firstly, Novalee superstition of the number seven being unlucky. I am not sure why it is part of her story, but I do not grasp the significance at all. The problems relating to sevens felt so forced to the point of being aggravating. Also, Americus’ kidnapping. It happened, and there did not seem to be any significance in that, either.

On the subject of Americus, I found that she did not play a significant enough role in the book that one would expect considering she was supposed to be the centre of Novalee’s life. That did not make sense to me, but at the same time, I found the way Americus was written to be annoying, so I am not too upset that she was not more involved in the story.

Overall, I understand why someone would not hate the book. Perhaps if someone wants to read something light and quick with no substance, just to pass the time, they could read this. On the other hand, if someone is looking for a book that will positively impact them, and make them feel smarter after reading it, I would recommend steering clear of this book.

Once again, this is only my opinion, and I am sure there are good qualities to this book, I simply cannot see any of them.
Susan
I am giving this story four stars with reservations. I would have only given it three stars because of the violence against Brummett. I loath shock value that authors add to their stories especially against children. The description of what happens to Lexie is horrifying enough to garner my attention, to shock me. An "attempt" against a child is enough of a horror for me to read about. With all the real violence in the world, the last thing I want to read about is violence against children.

I'm n I am giving this story four stars with reservations. I would have only given it three stars because of the violence against Brummett. I loath shock value that authors add to their stories especially against children. The description of what happens to Lexie is horrifying enough to garner my attention, to shock me. An "attempt" against a child is enough of a horror for me to read about. With all the real violence in the world, the last thing I want to read about is violence against children.

I'm not sure why the author had to take things to that extreme...however...with the book being one of Oprah's Book Club selections, I should have realized that the angst and yuck would be raised a notch.

The redeeming fourth star for me was that I loved all the characters and the dialog. And...I loved the ending. If an author can satisfy me with a good ending, or the right ending for the story, I am more forgiving, get over myself and calm down...

Fatima Ilyas
I wasn't a big fan of this book and I expected it to be better. I'd say that the first 100 pages were interesting but after that it went downhill. But one of the things I liked about this book was the deep meaning in it which was the outcome of letting go of someone who has a negative impact in your life and the idea of finding closeness and a form of family in strangers. Willy-Jack bought negativity in Novalee's life and her life was way better after he wasn't a part of it. If Novalee had staye I wasn't a big fan of this book and I expected it to be better. I'd say that the first 100 pages were interesting but after that it went downhill. But one of the things I liked about this book was the deep meaning in it which was the outcome of letting go of someone who has a negative impact in your life and the idea of finding closeness and a form of family in strangers. Willy-Jack bought negativity in Novalee's life and her life was way better after he wasn't a part of it. If Novalee had stayed with Willy-Jack, her life would've been complicated and unhappy, and also Americus would've grown up in a complicated and unhealthy environment. I loved the different characters who changed Novalee's life and helped her become a strong and independent woman, even the minor characters in this book played a changing role in Novalee's life.
Crystal Withem
I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! Where can I get a Forney? I just love everything about him. He loves Novalee with so much love and compassion. He also loves her child just as much as he loves her. I just think he is wonderful and I cheered for him through the whole book.
I love everything about this story. I know that it is a total chick lit book, but I think it is just wonderful. The book flows nicely and I really don’t feel there was any moment that I wanted to skip over or I felt was dragging.
Even thoug I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! Where can I get a Forney? I just love everything about him. He loves Novalee with so much love and compassion. He also loves her child just as much as he loves her. I just think he is wonderful and I cheered for him through the whole book.
I love everything about this story. I know that it is a total chick lit book, but I think it is just wonderful. The book flows nicely and I really don’t feel there was any moment that I wanted to skip over or I felt was dragging.
Even though Novalee is the main character of this book, I feel that all the characters in the book are just wonderful. Sister Husband is so spunky and wonderful to read about. Lexi is a woman after my own heart. Her story brought me to tears. I just love this book. I can’t say enough how much I love it.
Kobi
This book was not what I expected, from the summary is sounded like it was about a seventeen year old who gets pregnant. Where the Heart Is is so much more than that, it's about a girls journey through life. Novalee Nation has never had much guidance in her life and when she gets pregnant she plans to travel to California with her boyfriend. When she makes a stop at Wal-Mart her boyfriend ditches her. With only $7 and no one to call for help she begins talking to random people in Wal-Mart. These This book was not what I expected, from the summary is sounded like it was about a seventeen year old who gets pregnant. Where the Heart Is is so much more than that, it's about a girls journey through life. Novalee Nation has never had much guidance in her life and when she gets pregnant she plans to travel to California with her boyfriend. When she makes a stop at Wal-Mart her boyfriend ditches her. With only $7 and no one to call for help she begins talking to random people in Wal-Mart. These people's insights make her think about life and its importance. One person Sister Husbands, goes even as far as inviting her to her house. This book is such an adventure and will leave you very emotional. (view spoiler)[ When Americus gave Novalee M&M's as antibiotics and then ate one too, because she also had a "breaked heart", I couldn't stop myself from crying! (hide spoiler)]
Heather Godwin
This was a really great read about fearing 7's, making your own family, getting knocked down and getting back up again and in general just facing some of the worse things you can imagine.
Both Lexi & Novalee face some crappy stuff: being knocked up young, being abandoned, rape, losing your home, etc.
But they don't quit or stop caring for their kids as best they can.
They find stuff to laugh about and they find love, even if they don't think they deserve that love.

I loved Sister Husband, and This was a really great read about fearing 7's, making your own family, getting knocked down and getting back up again and in general just facing some of the worse things you can imagine.
Both Lexi & Novalee face some crappy stuff: being knocked up young, being abandoned, rape, losing your home, etc.
But they don't quit or stop caring for their kids as best they can.
They find stuff to laugh about and they find love, even if they don't think they deserve that love.

I loved Sister Husband, and I read this imagining her as Stockard Channing because I have seen the movie and I love Stockard Channing.
Mose Whitecotton was a more rounded character than the movie, as was Lexi.
Overall, both the book and movie are good people not giving up and triumphing stories I enjoyed.

Ruhab
This is one of the worst book I've ever read. The plot was really jumpy at some parts as really slow at some parts which just annoyed me. I did not like any of the characters as most of them were kind of unnecessary. I mean the author made almost every character either really selfless or really selfish which was very extreme and made it seem really unrealistic. Everything overall was really cheesy and very over exaggerated which made it really difficult for me to keep on reading. Novalee's chara This is one of the worst book I've ever read. The plot was really jumpy at some parts as really slow at some parts which just annoyed me. I did not like any of the characters as most of them were kind of unnecessary. I mean the author made almost every character either really selfless or really selfish which was very extreme and made it seem really unrealistic. Everything overall was really cheesy and very over exaggerated which made it really difficult for me to keep on reading. Novalee's character really made me mad because she was just all over the place and did not stick to one personality and even till the end it was hard for me to really understand her completely. I definitely would not recommend it to anyone.
Lola
Overall, I found this novel to have a sweet and meaningful story and I enjoyed it. It shows how you shouldn't look at yourself as being worthless, you are always better than you think you are. This is novel is about the adventure of a pregnant lady, who's boyfriend leaves her at a Wal-Mart, she then gives birth there and becomes known as the Wal-Mart Mommy. She then has to learn who to trust and who not to. Throughout her journey she begins to found her passion for photography and begins to unde Overall, I found this novel to have a sweet and meaningful story and I enjoyed it. It shows how you shouldn't look at yourself as being worthless, you are always better than you think you are. This is novel is about the adventure of a pregnant lady, who's boyfriend leaves her at a Wal-Mart, she then gives birth there and becomes known as the Wal-Mart Mommy. She then has to learn who to trust and who not to. Throughout her journey she begins to found her passion for photography and begins to understand what real love is (how can you love someone so much you just met, talking about her daughter that she decided to give a "good strong" name to, which ended up being Americus). Even though I found this novel to be long, I really enjoyed it.
Nanci
I loved this book just as much the second time reading it. The characters are so real you will remember them a long time. The book hits all the marks; great storyline, funny, sad, and hopeful. A very gratifying read and easy writing/reading style. If you've never read it I recommend adding it to your list. Great for book groups!
Heather Hyde
I absolutely loved this book it's in my top10! Novalee is dumped by her boyfriend at a shopping Mal, she's pregnant and alone, she has nowhere to go, so hides out in WalMart, where with the help of Forney, a man who will become her best friend she gives birth to her daughter. She becomes famous for a time, but ultimately she is taken in by a wonderful lady, who is just one of a myriad of delightful and very different characters who will shape her life and endear themselves to the reader! It's so I absolutely loved this book it's in my top10! Novalee is dumped by her boyfriend at a shopping Mal, she's pregnant and alone, she has nowhere to go, so hides out in WalMart, where with the help of Forney, a man who will become her best friend she gives birth to her daughter. She becomes famous for a time, but ultimately she is taken in by a wonderful lady, who is just one of a myriad of delightful and very different characters who will shape her life and endear themselves to the reader! It's so well written, a real modern classic, I was so sad to have finished it, and so glad to have read it!
Kathryn
Compared to the other class book we were assigned,this book was far better but still lacked many things that I look for in a novel. To me, this novel seems unrealistic and I lost interest right off the back. The main character bugged me so much because she wouldn't open her eyes to the truth, she was so focused on her fantasy rather then see reality. The story line seemed to drag on, a never ending circle of drama, which I am not a total fan of. I have read far better books than this that keeps Compared to the other class book we were assigned,this book was far better but still lacked many things that I look for in a novel. To me, this novel seems unrealistic and I lost interest right off the back. The main character bugged me so much because she wouldn't open her eyes to the truth, she was so focused on her fantasy rather then see reality. The story line seemed to drag on, a never ending circle of drama, which I am not a total fan of. I have read far better books than this that keeps the reader engaged to continue. To me, this book just doesn't fit the bill of a good book to read and I wouldn't recommend others to read it.
Alyssa Rubenstein
Overall, I personally did not enjoy this novel. I constantly found myself counting how many more pages I had to read until I was done my reading for that night. I found the book very boring and when something interesting did happen, it didn't go into a lot of detail or emotion that as a reader I was looking for. However, I did enjoy the main character, Novalee and her personality. Throughout the book I found myself becoming fonder of each individual character, although I wish the author made it Overall, I personally did not enjoy this novel. I constantly found myself counting how many more pages I had to read until I was done my reading for that night. I found the book very boring and when something interesting did happen, it didn't go into a lot of detail or emotion that as a reader I was looking for. However, I did enjoy the main character, Novalee and her personality. Throughout the book I found myself becoming fonder of each individual character, although I wish the author made it easier for readers to find this emotional connection. Although it wasn't my favourite book, the authors intent was always clear and understandable.
Ilan
Wow. "Where The Heart Is" was such incredible book! I actually think that makes it sound lame. No, "Where The Heart Is" simply blew my mind to pieces. It was so incredible because, instead of having one long story like many traditional books, this one gave each character his or her own short story. For example, Novalee Nation is abandoned in a Wal-mart and has her baby there (sort a big story right there), Americus gets stolen, but gets found almost right away, Sister Husband dies in a storm, an Wow. "Where The Heart Is" was such incredible book! I actually think that makes it sound lame. No, "Where The Heart Is" simply blew my mind to pieces. It was so incredible because, instead of having one long story like many traditional books, this one gave each character his or her own short story. For example, Novalee Nation is abandoned in a Wal-mart and has her baby there (sort a big story right there), Americus gets stolen, but gets found almost right away, Sister Husband dies in a storm, and Forney Hull...well read the book and find out. Each story was connected, yet Billie Letts managed to make each one show a lesson, moral, or deep, different feeling.
Hristina
This is maybe the first book on Goodreads that I added to my to-read shelf, and I've been trying to get to it since.

description

It was awesome getting into something more serious for a change, and I loved it. It's beautifully written, and the story sticks with you, it's quite captivating.
And by finishing this book, I'm also ticking off my first book from Oprah's Book Club list. Anyone else who might be interested, can find the list here.
Elise
I read this book after I saw the movie, and I can say I love the book more, the book is so much better.
This book is about Novalee Nation, a pregnant and uneducated seventeen year-old, her struggles in life to survive, and how she made it through with helps from unexpected sources.
This book reminds me about how you can still built something out of nothing, if only you believe in faith, kindness, and humanity.
Although the heroine seems so unlikely to succeed, she has the strength and perseverance I read this book after I saw the movie, and I can say I love the book more, the book is so much better.
This book is about Novalee Nation, a pregnant and uneducated seventeen year-old, her struggles in life to survive, and how she made it through with helps from unexpected sources.
This book reminds me about how you can still built something out of nothing, if only you believe in faith, kindness, and humanity.
Although the heroine seems so unlikely to succeed, she has the strength and perseverance where others may have given up.
Love this book, anyone who love Scarlett O'Hara should try to read this one.
Gabriella
*Spoiler's*

Can anyone say, "Baby on isle 6?" What an interesting take on a book. Who would of thought a story about someone having a baby in a Wal-Mart could be so fabulous? Novalee Nation has to be one of the sweetest most likeable characters. Her name is very strange but it gives her more character. She ends up being abandoned by her very stupid boyfriend, pregnant, jobless, homeless. This book is definitely a success story and I'm so glad for having read it. There is a movie which stars Natal *Spoiler's*

Can anyone say, "Baby on isle 6?" What an interesting take on a book. Who would of thought a story about someone having a baby in a Wal-Mart could be so fabulous? Novalee Nation has to be one of the sweetest most likeable characters. Her name is very strange but it gives her more character. She ends up being abandoned by her very stupid boyfriend, pregnant, jobless, homeless. This book is definitely a success story and I'm so glad for having read it. There is a movie which stars Natalie Portman as Novalee and the movie is great, aside from a few differences between the two. Check out both movie and book, easy read and very touching story.
Carisa Burns
I saw the movie but had forgotten all the details so I thought this was a great time to finally read the book and I was glad I did. I loved it. The writing is descriptive and interesting and emotional. The characters suck you in right from the very beginning and I love stories with happy endings. I fell in love with Novalee despite thinking she was just a weak and pathetic person at first. But at closer inspection I fell in love with her generosity, patience, love of people and life despite what I saw the movie but had forgotten all the details so I thought this was a great time to finally read the book and I was glad I did. I loved it. The writing is descriptive and interesting and emotional. The characters suck you in right from the very beginning and I love stories with happy endings. I fell in love with Novalee despite thinking she was just a weak and pathetic person at first. But at closer inspection I fell in love with her generosity, patience, love of people and life despite what life had thrown at her and it made me wish I could be more like her. This is one of my favorites.
Charlene
When I got to the second chapter I threw this book across the room. I was so disappointed because I really liked the first chapter. I thought that was the end of this book for me but a week later I picked it back up. One character is pretty crud and every three or four chapters he gets his own short chapter so I found I could finish this book if I just skipped his chapters. The characters are quirky and vivid and you get a real feel for this small town. It reminded me a lot of Cold Sassy Tree.
Nicole
Inspiring and uplifting tale about Novalee Nation, a girl whose boyfriend abandons her at a wal-mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma pregnant, broke and not knowing a soul. She winds up living at the wal-mart and goes on to have her baby there. I saw the movie back when I was in High School, and this book is just as charming and fun, and heartbreaking at times as the movie was. I felt like I knew the characters and it's almost imossible to find a book that captivating(or at least for me, lately, anyway). Inspiring and uplifting tale about Novalee Nation, a girl whose boyfriend abandons her at a wal-mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma pregnant, broke and not knowing a soul. She winds up living at the wal-mart and goes on to have her baby there. I saw the movie back when I was in High School, and this book is just as charming and fun, and heartbreaking at times as the movie was. I felt like I knew the characters and it's almost imossible to find a book that captivating(or at least for me, lately, anyway). Definitely worth reading even if you've seen the movie!!
WarpDrive
This is a very nice book depicting the harsh life, but also the resilience and moral strength, of the main character, somebody who may be termed by some as "white trash". The optimism of the story, in face of the adversities faced by the protagonist in the socially bankrupt contemporary America, is refreshing and contagious.
Yes the story may sometimes appear a bit fluffy and a bit heavy on saccharine, but in reality it is a nice, well developed, atmospheric story that I am very happy I had the This is a very nice book depicting the harsh life, but also the resilience and moral strength, of the main character, somebody who may be termed by some as "white trash". The optimism of the story, in face of the adversities faced by the protagonist in the socially bankrupt contemporary America, is refreshing and contagious.
Yes the story may sometimes appear a bit fluffy and a bit heavy on saccharine, but in reality it is a nice, well developed, atmospheric story that I am very happy I had the opportunity to read.
Anne
(Spoiler alert!)
Started out as okay with the whole girl-living-in-Walmart theme, but the part about her friend's kids being molested and the graphic description was very unexpected and out of place, in my opinion. Ruined the book for me. Tried to read another of her books to give her another shot, and that one started out with a mother dog and her newborn pups getting run over in the road! I couldn't get past that part, either.
Richard
I don't typically read books more than once but, when I stumbled upon a copy in our new Little Free Library, I remembered how much I had enjoyed it. So since I'm now a big fan of Tracy Letts, author of the award winning August: Osage County, I decided to revisit his mother's acclaimed novel. One of the reasons I enjoy this book so much is that it illustrates how folks who are down on their luck are frequently the ones most likely to reach out to someone else who needs help.
Lisa Stoll
I definitely loved reading this book. I saw the movie first and was concerned that the book would either a) not be as good or b) be completely different. Well, the book was different from the movie, but when I was done I realized that they both stood on their own as being amazing portraits of humanity. I enjoyed them both immensely.
Elizabeth Nygren
This book gave me so many emotions. Like. I absolute love literary fiction now. This book appealed to so many of my senses. One of my favourite English books. Gah. Novalee was amazing and Forney. So interesting! I loved how things just kept escalating and there was closure. I loved how it took place over 7 years. 7. Yes.
Beth Brekke
I know this is an older book but I just got my hands on it and couldn't put it down. The first 3 sections were especially fun--always something going on and always surprising. The 4th section was a bit rushed and while the ending wasn't dissatisfying, I thought it could have been better but overall, probably one of the best books I've read. Some may disagree but it was my kind of book.
Jeff Bottrell
This book was a nauseating experience of southern caricatures. The characters were adorned each with a set of quaint, innocuous attributes, as if the author had a "character wheel" she spun to gather a set of random traits for each. It was an attempt at Bean Trees, but lacking in any truth or integrity.

This is one of the books the demons will read aloud to me in hell after I die.
Alison
I really liked this book. I found the writing to be quite clever in that the book is filled with tragedy yet you come away feeling upbeat. The negative events that occur throughout the story are never dwelled upon and are overshadowed by the positive disposition of the characters. A beautiful story of nontraditional family love.
Kwoomac
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CompNtBk
Own in paperback.

FS: "Novalee Nation, seventeen, seven months pregnant, thirty-seven pounds over weight and superstitious about sevens - shifted uncomfortably in the seat of the old Plymouth and ran her hands down the curve of her belly."

LS: "I only know how I have written two books. I had stories to tell and I began typing."
Joan
A wonderful story of a girl left in an intolerable situation. Over a period of time she meets a mixed group of samaritans who give her hope, support and most importantly taught her that she had worth regardless of her upbringing or past. They gave her the things she'd never had -a future and love.
Sue
This book has been in my bedside stack for how long??? Well, I'm glad I finally got to it. Love the quirky characters. Writing in the similar vein to Lorna Landvik and Fanny Flagg. Just a fun light read.
Maria
This book was one that took you on a journey that you personally got involved in. I loved/ hated what happened in Novelee's life. I saw the movie before I read the book, and I am glad that I did. the book was phenomenal.
Stacie (BTR)
I read this book as a teenager before the movie was made. I like this book (better than the movie). To me, it's a story about overcoming. It is also about generosity. In all, it's a feel-good read.
Jessica
Characters make a book, and that is certainly true of this one. Every one of them are quirky but not at all to the point of unbelievable. Their eccentricities are what make you fall in love with them even more. Then add on a heart-filled story, and you have a beautiful book.
Sara
I read this book in high school and loved it then. I was happy to discover that I still enjoyed it the second time around. Good drama, lovable characters, great writing. Sometimes, though, I felt that the pace was a little fast; there were certain events that I felt needed more pages.
Rhonda Christlieb
I enjoyed this book, from the simplicity of a small town uneducated girl making something wonderful of her like, to the beautiful love story woven throughout it. This book had tragedy, violence and evil in it, but it also had hope, redemption and love: much like real life.
Duane
The cutest story with the cutest characters, well most of them. Actually, there are some serious issues dealt with and characters with some serious flaws. But Novalee rises above all and finds love, happiness, and a hidden talent. The movie was good too.
Shannon The Show Stopper
I love Billie Letts, I love this book and I love all the crazy characters in it. I've actually read this twice. I read it once when it came out and then a couple years later before I watched the movie. It's just a great heartwarming story and I would definitely recommend it!
Joseph Sciarillo
It is a story with many surprises, little mysteries, and rich characters. Billie Letts puts a story together that will make you weep with the human spirit. It is well constructed lures you to read on. When you finish, the characters will linger like old friends.
Claudia
When I met Billie Letts, I told her two of my students had recommended this book to me, and how much we had enjoyed it. She nearly cried. Old English teachers always love to see students read and enjoy good books. The book is so much better than the movie...so what else is new??
Kathleen
If an author is really good, I can tolerate some vulgarity in their writing. This author is not that good to put up with it.
Renae McBrian
The full, spoiler-free review of this re-read can be found here: https://yerawizardrenae.wordpress.com...
Kaethe
There are enough stories about working class people these days, but this is a charmer.
AnneMarie
It is the kind of book that lingers on my mind when I am away from it (before I finish it) and for days after I read the last page.
Mollie Leach
One of my favorite books I have ever read. It's so real and heartfelt. I definitely have a place for it in my heart.
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