OKAY FOR NOW BY GARY D. SCHMIDT
PUBLISHER: Clarion Books
SERIES: Nope- Though it’s a companion piece to The Wednesday Wars
FORMAT & SOURCE: Audiobook borrowed from the Library (Listening Library narrated by Lincoln Hoppe)
“Midwesterner Gary D. Schmidt won Newbery Honor awards for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boys and The Wednesday Wars, two coming-of-age novels about unlikely friends finding a bond. Okay For Now, his latest novel, explores another seemingly improbable alliance, this one between new outsider in town Doug Swieteck and Lil Spicer, the savvy spitfire daughter of his deli owner boss. With her challenging assistance, Doug discovers new sides of himself. Along the way, he also readjusts his relationship with his abusive father, his school peers, and his older brother, a newly returned war victim of Vietnam.” – Goodreads
CONFESSION: I knew nothing about this book. I had not heard of it. I had not seen it around. All I knew was that I had run out of new This American Life episodes to listen to during my two hour commute to and from work and this audiobook was available at my local library. I had no idea that this book is actually a companion piece to The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt (but it doesn’t really matter. I never read the Wednesday Wars and you don’t need to have read the Wednesday Wars to appreciate this book)
You guys, I am SO GLAD that I picked this up. Okay For Now deals with a lot of “big” issues. Yes, there were parts that made me laugh out loud, but there were also parts that left me crying in traffic (while truck drivers gave me concerned looks out of the corners of their eyes).
I loved the whole delicate dance going on throughout the story– the main character, Doug, tries to keep up this armor of “coolness” while simultaneously trying to discover who he really is and what he’s really into. He could get a little annoying at times, but let’s face it, the whole “coming of age thing” is full of annoyances. I was COMPLETELY annoying during my entire middle school career.
Gary D. Schmidt tells an absolutely charming story in Okay For Now. It’s full of layers that he slowly peels away for the reader. In my opinion, everything is revealed right when it should be.
I also loved the audiobook version of Okay For Now. Apparently the book has pictures of all the birds described in the story, so I missed out on that. BUT Lincoln Hoppe, the narrator, does such a fantastic job with the narration. There were certain words and phrases that he spoke with SUCH FEELING that it made my heart break a little. I loved how, often times, his voice sounded reflective. His narration most definitely added to the story.
SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCES BY: art/drawing, eccentric old ladies, gentle old men, ice cream, Audubon birds
HEAVY BOOT THEMES: abuse, learning disabilities, War and PTSD , family relations, bullying
PEOPLE WHO MAY POSSIBLY WANT TO HUG THIS BOOK: educators, mentors, students and adults who enjoy historical fiction, that lady who lives near me who stands in her back yard with binoculars
RATING: four thumbs up