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Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Okay for Now (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Gary D. Schmidt

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1,003988,517 (4.46)51
Title:Okay for Now
Authors:Gary D. Schmidt
Info:Clarion Books (2011), Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (2011)

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Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
Such an intense emotional roller coaster and definitely one of the most realistic and amazingly written story I have read in awhile.

It all started with Joe Pepitone. Doug is a young boy in jr. high who moves to stupid Marysville due to his father's new job and gets to know his way around the place. He has one criminal brother, a brother in Vietnam for the war, a girl who he slowly gets closer with, a librarian who teaches him how to understand art with the use of Audubon's "Birds of America" collection (which he also fights for the right of keeping them from being sold), a genius playwright who teaches him more about life than he knew, and endless other characters who eventually teach him tidbits of life lessons.

You'll feel happy, you will cry, you will feel pleased, and you will worry. Let this book show you how to look at life again. ( )
  ShayLRoss | Mar 16, 2016 |
AMAZING. Fantastic. Possibly even better than The Wednesday Wars. I love it, I love it, I love it. The end.
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
Touching realistic fiction story about a boy growing up in 1968. How the Vietnam war touches his family and how he learns that he can do whatever he wants, makes a very touching story. It has some sad moments but the ending is hopeful. ( )
  Jadedog13 | Feb 3, 2016 |
Narrated by Lincoln Hoppe. Wow, I’ve always enjoyed Gary D. Schmidt’s novels and recognized what a talent he has for crafting a story, but Lincoln Hoppe’s narration here highlights that ability even more. His performance is exquisitely empathetic, in particular his gentle handling of quiet and emotional scenes. He wore this book as if it were Doug's baseball jacket. Fantastic. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I didn’t think I would have any interest in reading an entire book about Doug Swieteck, a minor character from Gary D. Schmidt’s The Wednesday Wars. Was I ever wrong! I have to say, this is the best book I’ve read in awhile. I laughed. I cried. I wanted to build a time machine, travel back to Marysville, circa 1968, and work with Mr. Powell at the Marysville Free Public Library. Oh, and hang out at Spicer’s Deli and drink a really cold coke.

You don’t have to read The Wednesday Wars first to appreciate Okay for Now. It stands on its own. However, if you read both, you may be reminded that there is often more to a person than what you first see on the surface.

After his father is fired, Doug Swieteck moves with his family to “stupid” Marysville, New York. Life at the Swieteck home is less than desirable. Doug’s father is a jerk. His mother he loves dearly, but she is unable to stand up for herself, let alone her boys. His oldest brother is serving in Vietnam, and his other brother is a bit of a hoodlum. No wonder everyone thinks Doug must be a “skinny thug” too.

Lil Spicer is his first new friend in Marysville. She arranges for Doug to work for her father who owns a deli, making deliveries to some of the folks in town. As he begins to interact with the people of Marysville (on his delivery route, at school, and of course, at the library!) he experiences kindness and friendship that he hadn’t expected or even hoped for.

There’s so much more that I could say about this book, but why not stop in the library and check it out for yourself! Also, if you want to know more about birds than you ever thought you’d care to know...this is the book for you. ( )
  MrsBarbarino | Jan 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
Bad-boy Doug Swieteck from The Wednesday Wars (rev. 7/07)—grudgingly respected for his bravado (he knew 410 ways to get a teacher to hate you) but feared because of his bullying older brother—is back in a stand-alone story. Readers meet Doug’s mean-spirited father, a man Doug dislikes but unconsciously emulates. When the family moves upstate after Mr. Swieteck’s temper gets him fired, Doug’s discontent mirrors his father’s. They live in a “stupid” town, in a house Doug christens “The Dump,” and people sit on stoops because there isn’t “any boring thing else to do in boring Marysville.” But what “boring” Marysville, New York, offers Doug is something unexpected: kindness and a future. He gets a part-time job; meets Lil, a sweet love interest; has teachers willing to teach him (as Schmidt gradually reveals, his need is dire); and, above all, is captivated by a book of Audubon bird prints when a caring librarian helps Doug discover a talent for composition and art appreciation. Schmidt incorporates a myriad of historical events from the 1968 setting (the moon landing, a broken brother returning from Vietnam, the My Lai massacre) that make some of the improbable plot turns (the father’s sudden redemption, for example) all the more unconvincing. Still, Doug’s story emerges through a distinctive voice that reflects how one beat-up kid can become a young man who knows that the future holds “so much for him to find.”
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Joe Pepitone once gave me his New York Yankees baseball cap.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0547152604, Hardcover)

Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Author Gary D. Schmidt

Q: Did you always want to become a writer?

A: Nope. In high school, I wanted to go to the Naval Academy at Annapolis and become a career naval officer. Then, late in high school, I wanted to be a vet—mostly because of the James Herriot books and the PBS show, I suppose. Then, in college, I decided to become a lawyer—until my senior year, when I switched to an English major to become a teacher, which I did become. Somehow becoming a writer happened along the way.

Q: What did you read when you were a kid?

A: In my school, we were tracked—meaning that we were put into classes depending on how well we had done in testing. This happened in first grade. I had tested poorly and ended up in the pumpkin group—no kidding. We were the poorest readers, and so since I was told I wasn’t any good at this, I didn’t read much. Then I got taken up by Miss Kabakoff, who just liked me, and who brought me into her class and taught me how to read.

Once that happened, I read everything I could. The Freddy the Pig books, the Doctor Dolittle books, any Greek mythology I could get my hands on, and the Norse mythology that I liked better, the biographies in the Childhood of Famous Americans series, the tales of the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen, the Herbert series and the Henry Reed series, Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson, Howard Pyle’s The Adventures of Robin Hood and His Merry Men, Bambi (which is a lot better than most people think it is), anything by Jack London or Jules Verne or H. G. Wells, the Horatio Hornblower books, Treasure Island, and of course the Hardy Boys series and the Tom Swift series, which I collected whenever I could.

Q: How often do you write?

A: Every day I am not teaching—so two or three days a week, and sometimes at night—unless it’s really cold out and the woodstove needs a lot of tending.

Q: How much do you write each day?

A: I work on three projects at a time, and they are all at different stages. One may be a first draft, one may be almost finished, and one might be in proofs—or perhaps just being conceived. I try to write about five hundred words a day on each project. Most American writers—Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Jack London—all wrote about five hundred words a day. It seems the right pace for me. It keeps me from going too fast at a project.

There are some children’s book writers—like Enid Blyton—who supposedly wrote ten thousand words a day. This seems impossible to me, but even if it is true, one should not judge oneself by the absurd outlier.

Q:Where do you write?

A: I have a study in a small outbuilding away from the house. It has a desk, a lamp, more books than should be in any one room, and a woodstove. I work at a typewriter, and keep lots of scrap paper around me. This means, by the way, that if anything comes out pretty awful, I can just open the woodstove and burn it all. The feeling of relief is remarkable.

On my desk are a dictionary and a thesaurus, books by Emerson and Whittier and Longfellow and Darwin, Henry David Thoreau’s journals, a collection of Churchill’s war speeches, two volumes of Shaker hymns, some Tolkien, some Avi, some Katherine Paterson, some Elie Wiesel, The Giver, and a statue of a greyhound that has been in my family for four generations.

Q:You work at a typewriter?

A: You can’t believe how hard it is to find typewriter ribbons for a 1953 Royal.

Q: Your books often are very serious. Shouldn’t you lighten up?

A: You think life in middle school isn’t serious? Are you kidding?

Living is a serious business. Funny is good, of course. We all like to laugh. But I want more than that. Much more. Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his first great book, called life "a veil of gloom and brightness." We all wish it could be brightness all the time. And maybe for some people it is. I doubt it, but maybe. But there is gloom for us all, too. And maybe books even for kids shouldn’t ignore that. Geez, read Where the Wild Things Are, or Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, or just about any Grimm folktale, or Crow Boy, or Bridge to Terabithia, or Nothing but the Truth, or No, David, or Octavian Nothing, or The Tale of Despereaux, or Stitches, or The Storm in the Barn, and then try to tell me that writers for kids should try not to be too serious.

Q: What is your favorite book that you have written?

A: Hmmm... If I give one title, then all the other books get sort of cranky and jealous, and they start to rearrange themselves loudly at night to push each other off the shelves. Then I have to pick them all up in the morning instead of walking the dogs and then the dogs get irritated and they take their sweet time on the walk so I get back home late and miss most of breakfast and the kids get to school after the bell has rung and the day just goes downhill from there.

Let’s just say they’re all my favorites.

Q:What is your favorite book that you have not written?

A: An easy question. It is The Little World of Don Camillo. There is no other book like it, so sweet, so funny, so moving, sometimes suspenseful. I wish I had written it.

Q:What book are you working on now?

A: Sorry. Writers should never talk about what they’re working on next. It will be done when it’s done, and then I’ll be glad to talk about it. But not now.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:27 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

While Doug struggles to be more than the thug that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer, as they explore Audubon's art.

(summary from another edition)

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