Dustin Roberts's Reviews > Okay for Now

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
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's review
Apr 12, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: newbery-2012

I finished the book over a week ago, but still have not written a review. I have been struggling to sit down and put into words something as simple as a summary. The problem isn't my lack of motivation to do so, but the fact that it's hard to do this book any real justice. 14-year-old Doug Swieteck has just moved from New York City to stupid Maryville in upstate. Being the new kid in town only adds to the problems Doug faces at home. An abusive father with a twitching hand, troublesome brother, another brother returning from war, distraught mother, and a distrusting school only skim the surface of Doug's problems. As the story unfolds we see a shifting degree of hope. With the help of several key characters Doug is able to navigate his problems and unlock a large amount of suppressed potential. Not only do they lend a hand to Doug, but Doug unknowingly gives each of the inspiration. The ripples of problems that come with this family to Maryville are eventually overshadowed by the waves of change that Doug brings about.
Set in the time of Vietnam, the moon landing, and Joe Peppitone, Schmidt interweaves layer after layer of humor, tear jerkers, and relentless hope into a story so complex yet relatable to anyone. It's nearly impossible to sum the novel up, and only reading it can fully explain its power. Cleverly beautiful comes to mind when trying to explain the tie to James Audubon's bird illustrations, or a blessing for art teachers may be a proper title. The ups and downs this young boy must face are nothing short of amazing, and are guaranteed to stir any reader's emotions. And you'd be happy to know that maybe Maryville isn't so stupid after all.

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