Dear Billie Letts,
My first contact with Where the Heart Is was the movie, not the book. I was upset when my aunt said I had to turn the T. V. off and come eat supper. I needed to know more about what was going to happen to Novalee after Willy Jack angrily dropped her off at Wal-Mart a long way from home. I like to shop at Wal-Mart myself, but I would be scared if I thought I was stranded there. When I was three-years-old, I got separated from my mom in a store, and I still remember how scared I felt. I was scared now for Novalee. (I think I was starting to realize that my family gives me secure feelings that Novalee doesn't have.)
One of my favorite child hood stories was Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In the book Novalee was compared to Goldilocks without her bears. I liked stories that were adventurous and took my imagination into a new world. Sometimes I imagined I was on an Island by myself and had to make my own food and find or make the supplies I needed. My story was imaginary, but Novalee had to live it for real.
Some people commit a crime and get punished too hard for it. Others do not get punished enough. But the "crime" that Novalee did was not big enough to be punished by being abandoned. All she needed was to go to the bathroom every fifty miles while Willy Jack was driving. I don't think that going to the bathroom is a reason to leave someone at Wal-Mart, with seven dollars and seventy-seven cents and no shoes or way back home. Where the Heart Is made me think about some of my own "crimes" of the past and how l got away with them. I feel kind of silly about those things now, but not really guilty. I think that is because my family has been accepting of what I do as I grow up.
Thank you, Billie Letts, for helping me learn that some things really aren't bad as they seem. Where the Heart Is has become one of my favorite books because it has taught me to appreciate how my family allows me to continue to be adventurous.