Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
About the Book:
Tray Dunaway longs to be part of the popular set at school but she’s growing too fast and her clothes no longer fit. The only person who understands Tray’s need for acceptance is her grandmother, but when Tray wears Gram’s hand-sewn clothes to school, the kids make fun of her tall, boney appearance. Tray’s luck improves when Pee Wee Johnson, a down-and-out friend of her father’s, buys two lottery tickets and gives one to Mr. Dunaway as a thank-you for driving him to Hazard, Illinois. When her father’s ticket turns out to be the winner, Johnson demands his cut of the proceeds but Tray’s dad refuses. What seems like a stroke of good fortune suddenly becomes a disturbing turn of events as Johnson threatens to cause problems for the family and Tray.
Awkward and a book worm, I found several things I could relate to Tray in this book. She seeks though, the approval of others, sports, and clothing to find love and acceptance that she longs to find from her peers and most of all her family. It is a short, easy read, set in the 1970’s. The many different characters throughout the book have many flaws, from her mentally ill mother to her best friend’s mother that has a shopping habit she cannot afford.
I had been warned that there was a very violent and graphic scene in the book by another reader, but when I came upon that scene, I found it had the desired effect of showing how easy something bad such as an assault could happen to someone. However, the scene was brief and done with quickly. There was not a lot of detail. However, because of this and other topics addressed, I would only recommend this for older teens with the plan for discussion. It had a lot of good topics that parents should be discussing with their family.
Money and how it can change people, how others judge by outward appearance and what to do if someone assaults you.