She hoped winning the lottery would solve her problems. Her problems have just begun…. Complex characters … Jeter s coming-of-age novel considers the problems that might follow a sudden windfall. ~ Publishers Weekly4 Stars! One would be hard-pressed not to root for the likable protagonist and hope that her story eventually ends with a happy ending. ~ RT Book Reviews1975 — Volkswagen introduces the Golf, John Mitchell, H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are found guilty of the Watergate cover-up, the Weather Underground bombs the U.S. State Department, and Bill Gates founds Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As Communist forces take Saigon and the Vietnam War winds down, Tray Dunaway, an ordinary teenager from a poor Southern family, longs to become part of the popular clique at school. Tray’s mother, Evelyn, lies in bed most days with her bipolar tendency toward extreme highs or desperate lows. Meanwhile, Tray’s grandmother Ginny, still grieving over the loss of her husband, would love to move out and find a place of her own. Maybe even a bit of romance to replace the loss she feels. But given the sorry state of the family’s finances that’s not possible. Then the Dunaways’ luck changes. Or so it seems.Tray’s father drives a down-and-out friend of the family, Pee Wee Johnson, to Hazard, Illinois, so Johnson can buy lottery tickets. As a gesture of thanks, Johnson gives a ticket to Tray’s father. And what do you know? The Dunaways’ are suddenly rich.When Johnson demands his cut of the winnings, Tray’s dad refuses. As Evelyn’s illness spirals toward madness, Johnson threatens the family. Out of time, Tray makes one poor decision after another until what initially seemed like a stroke of good fortune quickly becomes a dangerous game of life and death for the Dunaways.
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A Vanderbilt University professor, Debra Coleman Jeter has published fiction and nonfiction in popular magazines, including Working Woman, New Woman, Self, Home Life, Savvy, Christian Woman, and American Baby. Her story, “Recovery,” won first prize in a Christian Woman short story competition, and her nonfiction book “Pshaw, It’s Me Grandson”: Tales of a Young Actor was a finalist in the 2007 USA Book News Awards. She is a co-writer of the screenplay for Jess + Moss, a feature film which premiered in 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival, screened at nearly forty film festivals around the world, and captured several international awards. She lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, with her husband. She is currently working on a novel based on the life of her grandmother, Effie Shultz McClain (1900 to 1985).