I’ve talked before about how much I love this book, so I was touched to see this review on Amazon by a dad and teacher (and I’m honored to be on his list of favs, too!):
One of My Top Six All-Time Favorite Books, August 22, 2011This review is from: Okay for Now (Hardcover)
Wow. (!) I am a father who has seven years teaching experience (two at the middle school level) and this book both broke my heart and made me laugh hysterically. Often at the same exact moment.
Schmidt tells the story of eighth-grader Doug Swieteck as he deals with difficulties and pain faciong him at every turn. Doug’s voice is believable, endearing, strong, and hopeful, even as he complains abotu everything from the town his family moves to, to school teachers and grocery deliveries. Readers qill quickly (read: IMMEDIATELY) fall in love with Doug and root for him page after page. Doug’s journey is vividly revealed, and the language makes readers feel as though Doug himself is sharing with them the story–as if they themselves are a customer on Doug’s grocery delivery route, and he’s decide to tell all.
I read the book in about two days, even though my wife and I were transitioning our 2-year old to a big boy bed and were already sleep deprived. However, once we got my son settled, I couldn’t keep away from OKAY FOR NOW. The book literally squeezed and squeezed my heart and refused to let go. When I finished, tears in my eyes, laughter dancing on my lips, all I could say to my wife was, “You’ve got to read this book.”
As a previous teacher, I would have done everything in my power to get this on our curriculum for my 7th graders. It’s a book that is almost impossible not to enjoy. Additionally–and more importantly–it’s a book that gets inside your soul and doesn’t leave it in the same state once the final page closes.
It makes my list of All-Time Top Six Books (which is a hard feat to come by!). (The others, for the curiously inclined, are TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee, THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV by Fyodor Dostoevsky, A RAISIN IN THE SUN by Lorraine Hansberry–I know, I know, a play makes the list of “books”, but I can’t help it, it’s that powerful–MOCKINGBIRD by Kathryn Erskine, and THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain.) I kept my this old list at five pretty tight, but Gary Schmidt’s stunning and transforming novel forces the list to six!