Book: Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt
Genre: MG Historical Fiction
From: probably Amazon a few years ago
Short Synopsis: This follows the story of Doug Swieteck, who was featured a bit in the book The Wednesday Wars, if you'll remember. This book opens when his family moves to a new city and he has to get used to everything all over again. He meets a cute girl, he gets a little delivery job at her dad's deli, he starts to make friends with people, but especially, he likes the librarian guy who shows him some cool bird pictures and teaches him how to draw them. These birds feature heavily in the book and are symbols for what's going on in Doug's life. He has to deal with his crazy brother, his abusive dad, his older brother who comes home injured from Vietnam (yes this is a 60s book) and some mean teachers at school. But in the end, he overcomes all and is basically, okay for now.
My Response: Once again, this author nails it, capturing perfectly a moment in time during the 60s and what one normal kid might have been experiencing then. The voice is spot on and I loved it. He (this character) reminded me a bit of a young and less bitter Holden Caulfield, always saying things like "I'm not lying" and "stupid this and stupid that" and "do you know how that feels?" And yet, despite the edginess, he is as endearing as they come. You'll be rooting for this kid from page one.
Bottom Line: Not an earth shattering type of book, but all kinds of heart warming and feeling goodness and just so real. I loved it.
Let's Talk About: How are you with middle grade books? You know, some of them are pretty boring for me, but then again, some of the best books I've read are MG. They seem such a hit and miss. This one is a hit for sure. This author is a hit. If you haven't read one of his books, it's time to give him a try now!
Okay for Now is a coming of age story and a window into a pivotal time in US history. But more than that, Okay for Now is a flawless character study. From Jen Robinson's Book Page
I shed many a tear while reading about his life. I shed happy tears, too, over the grace extended to Doug by several compassionate adults. From Worthwhile Books
Okay For Now is a beautiful story about a boy, and it’s a story that will resonate with anyone, whether they remember what it was like to be 15 or not. From Attack of the Books
Dysfunctional family, war, conservation, small-town politics, love, and so much more: it’s all here. But Schmidt never lets it sound contrived or over-the-top. From The Reading Zone