Lorraine's Reviews > Okay for Now

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
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's review
Jul 08, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: student-reading
Read in June, 2012

The power of a passionate pursuit in life elevates and transforms Doug Swieteck's miserable life amidst a turmoil of family abuse and sheer teenaged angst. Doug's family consists of a mother he adores, two older brothers who have variously overshadowed his life with intimidation and outright abuse learned largely from the example of their malcontented father whose anger hangs over the household like a thunderhead. The family has moved to follow the dad to another unhappy job as a factory laborer in rural upstate New York. Doug feels uprooted from the little support he had in friends and school and thrust into a whole new social world he, like his father, disdains as backward and unrewarding. That is until he makes the unlikely discovery of a book of original Audobon prints in his local library. Here he also finds a mentor to his nascent artistic talents.

The book celebrates the importance of finding one's passion and leaning into it fully. Doug's transformation is told through the wonderfully cast images of various Audobon prints. His reflections on their composition mirrors the discovery of a world around him that he gradually perceives as rich and full of satisfactions and promise as the art he studies.

Certain plot elements become jarringly unrealistic, but met with a bit of suspended belief one can float through them on the broad swift current of well crafted characters toward their heartwarming and believable transformations.

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