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"The Ticket is a story that aches to be read. In Tray Dunaway, Debra Coleman Jeter has created a character who feels as real as you or me, with doubts, joys, problems, and dreams that seem unreachable. Watch as Tray reaches out, latches on, and starts becoming the beautiful woman she will be." -Ronald Kidd, author of Night on Fire and Monkey Town
THE TICKET Firefly Southern Fiction
When her father is given a ticket that wins the state lottery, fourteen-year old Tray thinks her life is about to change; and it does, but not in the way she hopes. It is 1975, an ordinary year for an ordinary Southern family. TRAY DUNAWAY, like thousands of other teenagers around the country, longs to be part of the popular set at school. She’s growing too fast, and her clothes no longer fit properly. The only person who understands is her grandmother, GINNY, but the kids at school make fun of her when she wears Gram’s hand-sewn clothes. She is tired of being too tall, too bony, too uncoordinated.
Tray’s mother, EVELYN, lies in bed most days with a headache, and her bipolar tendency toward extreme highs or desperate lows veers more and more often toward depression. Tray’s grandmother Ginny, who lives with the family, still grieves the loss of her husband, Brook. It’s been six years, though, and she knows Brook would want her to get on with her life. She believes it’s time for her to move out, if she could afford to, and find a place of her own, maybe even a new romance. This doesn’t look likely, given the state of the family’s finances.
Then something extraordinary happens. A down-and-out friend of the family, PEE WEE JOHNSON, buys an extra lottery ticket. He gives it to Jesse as a thank-you for driving Pee Wee to Hazard, Illinois, where he purchased the tickets. And what do you know?
"The characters in this book are unique, interesting and possess strong potential to be memorable. A grandmother who longs to fix mistakes from her youth and find independence, a mentally unbalanced mother, and a daughter who lacks the confidence to pursue her dreams . . . quite a mix with amazing dynamics. The story abounds with tensions and conflict." - Kim Peterson, Writer-in-Residence, Bethel College