Fiction review: The Ticket

The Ticket, by Debra Coleman Jeter is a coming-of-age novel about a girl named Tray. She lives with her mother, dad, and grandmother. Sometimes her mother can be sweet, but more often than not, Tray takes care of her mother and suffers her criticism. Her mom is mentally ill and seems to be bi-polar in actions and words. Tray has no idea what will come next. Her father is gone a lot and doesn’t try to communicate when he’s home. Only the grandmother shows her consistent love.

Tray is tall and gangly and uncomfortable with her looks—not helped by having a gorgeous mother who criticizes her for not being pretty. She’s left out of the cool group at school and going through typical adolescent thoughts and mood swings. I get the impression she’s around twelve years old, the book says she’s fourteen. Tray tends to deal with people by making snide remarks. Tray loves clothes—though she can’t afford many new ones—and draws the clothes she wishes she had.

Near the beginning of the story, her father wins the lottery—thus the book’s title. All through the book this fact is handled masterfully. I absolutely loved this plot thread.

As the story develops, a man flashes Tray and almost kidnaps her, and following that trauma are several family disasters in rapid succession.

Debra Jeter is an excellent writer and weaves the story of Tray’s family and personal issues so well that you hardly perceive it. I read the Kindle version and found no errors. She writes wonderfully crafted sentences, and the plot is very good. The ending is satisfying and sweet.

But, I can’t recommend this book because of too much information about: personal bodily functions, adolescent development, and the way-too-graphic flasher scene. I would never recommend it for any teen. The Ticket is realistic, but I don’t think several of these details help anyone’s thoughts (Philippians 4:8).

Also, though this is a “Christian” book, there are few true Christians in it and no clarity at all with them. The grandmother reads her Bible and sometimes quotes a verse—as well as pithy, non-biblical sayings. I get the impression she is a true Christian. There’s another family that seems to be Christian, but there’s nothing more. The lack of any spirituality left me feeling disappointed.

Also, be aware of: immodest clothing, mild language (that alludes to but stops just short of a curse word), and gambling (not glorified).

My sincere hope is that the author will use her incredible talent to write a truly redemptive story in the future.

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