Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Book Review Discussion: Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt

Book: Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt
Genre: MG Historical Fiction
For: Fun
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!

Other Reviews:

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


  1. Most times MG is a hit for me. They're too simplistic unless they're like Harry Potter. I especially am not into "realistic" fiction MG as much. I'd rather read fantasy. So, while I enjoyed the first book by Schmidt, I didn't love it. So, I don't plan on reading this one because I don't think it will be a hit for me.

    1. That first sentence should've said miss.

  2. This sounds like a sweet read. I especially like that the protagonist is a "young and less bitter Holden Caulfield" :) With middle grade novels, my tastes run more or less the same as they do with adult novels - I need to have a mystery or a fantasy or something science-fiction-y in the book.

  3. I feel the same way you do about MG - it's very hit or miss. Even YA can read young enough to bother me and that's far too common with MG for me to pick it up very often.



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