Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, Clarion Books, 2011, 368 pp, ISBN: 0547152604
When Doug's dad loses his job, their family is forced to pick up and move to stupid Marysville. And moving is never easy, but it's even more difficult when half the town thinks you're some kind of skinny thug and your big brother's just come back from Vietnam. His father is pretty abusive too, but that's nothing new.
When Doug finds his way into the public library - So what? So what? It's not like he's reading books - things start to shift. Not very quickly, not so's you would even notice at first. But a change is coming.
Who would have ever thought that a book about Audobon's bird paintings would become one of my favorites of the whole year? Not me, that's for sure. But Gary Schmidt's Okay for Now won me over almost immediately.
I am telling you right now. Do not be dissuaded by the weird/boring cover or all of the Audobon talk. Okay for Now is will not disappoint. And I think the #1 reason why is Voice. I can't remember the last time I read a book with such an incredibly strong voice. My parents visited over the weekend (Hi, Mom!) and I read aloud to my mom pretty much the entire way to church and back because every single paragraph was better than the one before. I can still hear Doug's voice in my head saying "So what? So what? I'm not a chump!" in my head.
ALL of the characters in Doug's life are so real you would swear they exist in real life. I would not be surprised to find stupid Marysville on a map, and you know Mr. Powell would have Okay for Now on the front desk at the library.
I really want to keep this review short because the main point is this: Okay for Now is one stellar read. It's up against Wonderstruck on Thursday in the BoB, and not only am I confident that Wonderstruck is toast, I wouldn't be surprised if Okay for Now won the whole shebang.
Read this book. Boy or girl, young or old, sports fan or bird watcher - you're going to love Okay for Now.
"You know, there are good reasons to learn how to read. Poetry isn't one of them. I mean, so what if two roads go two ways in a wood? So what? Who cares if it made all that big a difference? What difference? And why should I have to guess what the difference is? Isn't that what he's supposed to say?
Why can't poets just say what they want and then shut up?"
"Polly had this book about a house in a forest where Laura lives with Pa and Ma and her sisters. You'd be surprised how good this was, especially considering that nothing happens."
"Mr. Powell raised an eyebrow. 'I'm a librarian,' he said. 'I always know what I'm talking about.'"
"By the way, in case you weren't paying attention or something, did you catch what Mr. Powell called me? 'Young artist.' I bet you missed that."