Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Review: Okay for Now

Okay for Now
Gary D. Schmidt
2011; Clarion (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); ISBN 978-0-547-15260-8 (hardcover)

Summary:  For Doug Swieteck, the move from Long Island to stupid Marysville seems like the start of bad things.  Yet to his surprise, he finds that in Marysville there is Possibility.  In spite of the abuse he suffers from his father, Doug makes friends with Lil and gets a job delivering groceries for Lil's father.  He finally learns to read and is taught to draw by Mr. Powell, a kind librarian.  Best of all, he discovers the work of John James Audubon.  But every time things start going well, something happens to bring the bad back.  As the Apollo moon missions demonstrate the potential of mankind, Doug discovers just how much potential he has.

This companion novel to The Wednesday Wars, which won a Newbery Honor Award, might eclipse that first novel.  Gary D. Schmidt shows his gifts for voice and character in his tale of Doug.  Juggling topics such as baseball, abusive fathers, and Vietnam veterans could lead to a messy sprawl of a novel, yet in Schmidt's capable hands, all these aspects are well-handled.  Doug's hard work to not give up in the face of his father's disdain is equal parts heartbreaking and inspirational.  While slow to start, readers will soon be drawn into this novel, wondering what will happen to Doug.  Okay for Now is a coming-of-age story will be enjoyed by readers who seek realistic novels of survival.

Other Reviews
A Fuse #8:
Seattle Times:
Guys Lit Wire:
A Year of Reading:


Janssen said...

I love love love this book.

Jessica said...

LOVED this book. It is really phenomenal!