Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review: Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Book Description:
As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. So begins a coming-of-age masterwork full of equal parts comedy and tragedy from Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt. As Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer—a fiery young lady who “smelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain.” In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. In this stunning novel, Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.
My thoughts:
Last year I read The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt and really enjoyed it, so when I came across Amy from Hope Is the Word review for Okay for Now I knew I would need to read it.

If you have read The Wednesday Wars then you will notice a reoccurring theme in Okay for Now. Boys, literature, fine arts, the Yankees, the Vietnam War, bullying fathers, men going to the moon, and even Doug Swieteck. As much as I enjoyed The Wednesday Wars I think Okay for Now tells a more compelling story.

This is a story about a life and not a beautiful life. Doug's has way more downs than ups. When he moves to a new town he meets Lil and starts spending time in the library and delivery groceries on Saturday. His situation is very touch and go as his brother is accused of stealing things in the town. People withdraw from him at first, but there are a few that continually reach out to him, especially the librarian who teaches him how to draw Audubon pictures. In the midst of this his other brother comes home injured from the Vietnam War, while plates are disappearing out of the library's Audubon book, and his friend, Lil, becomes sick. Doug learns about love and more as he opens up to those around him in his journey to survive.

Okay for Now was a book that I could not put down. I read it into the wee hours of the night alternating between laughter and tears.  I could go on and on about this story, but I won't. I will encourage you to pick it up for yourself and read it--I don't think you will disappointed.
I am linking up over at:

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you loved it, too! I tried to read Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy for which I believe Schmidt won a Newbery honor, but I was sick to death of unfeeling, uncaring fathers by then (and this one a minister!), so I gave up on it before I found out if the situation ever improves. Knowing Schmidt, I feel certain that it does.



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