OKAY FOR NOW by Gary Schmidt

Doug Swieteck, a character from THE WEDNESDAY WARS, stars in this funny, often fast, sometimes furious tale of being an 8th grader at a new school in a new (stupid) town, with an abusive father, juvenile delinquent brother, and another brother coming home from Viet Nam, very injured.  Oh, and at the new school, there’s lots of things Doug needs to hide about himself, even if it means getting in trouble with adults like the (so-called) gym teacher and a principal who refers to himself in the third person (cracked me up every time).  And he has to hide from certain people at home, too, if he wants to survive.

And yet, there are good things that happen.  Good people, who trust you even though you live in The Dump and your father is a particularly unsavory character.  People who’ll stick their necks out for you, even cry for you.  And there’s a girl who is smart and tough and beautiful.  And actually likes you.  And there’s the birds.  Audubon’s birds, and learning how to draw them.  Doug understands their pain, lives their pain, but also experiences their triumph and soaring.  And spirit.

What Doug Swieteck has a bounty of is heart.  He’s been through so much that nothing can get him down — well, maybe down for a little while but then he’ll bounce back.  He’s used to fighting the odds.  And he’ll fight them for other people, too.  And you know he’s going to be OK.  He’s going to be OK for now, and probably forever.  But there’ll be ups and downs.  Constantly.  All any of us can hope for, and appreciate when it happens, is that we’re OK for now.  And whatever happens next, we’re going to pull ourselves up and keep going until we’re OK again because that’s just life.

It’s an honest and uplifting book.  And did I mention it was funny?  You should read it.  Maybe twice.  You will.  You know you will.  Because it’ll be an award winner.  And I’m not lying.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “OKAY FOR NOW by Gary Schmidt

  1. Nice review. Piqued my interest!

  2. Pingback: 2011 National Book Award Finalists | Kathyerskine's Blog

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