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Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
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Okay for Now (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Gary D. Schmidt

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1,2821129,095 (4.46)73
Member:annie-b
Title:Okay for Now
Authors:Gary D. Schmidt
Info:Clarion Books (2011), Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:juvenile fiction

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Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (2011)

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» See also 73 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
This semi-sequel to Schmidt's "The Wednesday Wars" does not hold together as well as the prior work. I also agree with other readers that it suffers from plot overload; there is definitely too much drama for a single high schooler's life. The plot threads are so numerous that they cannot help but be a bit thin. That said, I very much appreciated the protagonist, Doug Swieteck's, character and voice. He bears his suffering with grace and justifiable (albeit not always appropriately directed) adolescent anger and allows himself to be buoyed by kind gestures of others, Joe Pepitone's baseball, Audubon's birds, and his mother's smile. I also agree with other readers that there is too much reconciliation too soon--there are so many frayed ends to tie together and, with the exception of a sudden fatal illness, all seems a bit pat. Nonetheless, I will use this title with my Mock Newbery group. I look forward to hearing the opinions of its intended audience, both those who have read it as a sequel and a standalone.
( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
This semi-sequel to Schmidt's "The Wednesday Wars" does not hold together as well as the prior work. I also agree with other readers that it suffers from plot overload; there is definitely too much drama for a single high schooler's life. The plot threads are so numerous that they cannot help but be a bit thin. That said, I very much appreciated the protagonist, Doug Swieteck's, character and voice. He bears his suffering with grace and justifiable (albeit not always appropriately directed) adolescent anger and allows himself to be buoyed by kind gestures of others, Joe Pepitone's baseball, Audubon's birds, and his mother's smile. I also agree with other readers that there is too much reconciliation too soon--there are so many frayed ends to tie together and, with the exception of a sudden fatal illness, all seems a bit pat. Nonetheless, I will use this title with my Mock Newbery group. I look forward to hearing the opinions of its intended audience, both those who have read it as a sequel and a standalone.
( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
This book was so, so amazing I do not even know what to say that would do it justice. I liked Gary D. Schmidt's other book, The Wednesday Wars, which is vaguely connected to this one, very much. And that has to mean that I absolutely loved this one. It was that good. There were moments when the writing was so beautiful, so spot-on, that I got so caught up in it all I could barely breathe. I'm not trying to be dramatic here. It was true. How can a life be so full of hardships, and pain, and still manage to perserve at the same time so much hope? This is what Doug Swieteck's life is like. This is an incredible tale of one boy with such a big heart, one boy and an entire town, and I think that anyone who cares should do himself the favor and read it. ( )
  UDT | May 1, 2018 |
I rooted for the main character. ( )
  janmilusich | Apr 21, 2018 |
I thought I'd written a review of this. It picks up the story of one of the peripheral characters from THE WEDNESDAY WARS, only it is much better. Doug an older woman in his town, who is a bit like Miss Havisham, but he also meets an independently-minded young lady. They become friends for the summer, as they each work through their problems. The most striking thing I remember about this book was Jack's older brother who struggles with PTSD, after returning home from the Vietnam War, and Schmidt's deft employment of bird imagery. He doesn't say it, but you can tell he is describing Audobon prints. Birds as motifs are nothing new in literature, but Schmidt uses them quite well. This is a very solid book. ( )
  MsKathleen | Jan 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (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.”
added by Ms.Resler | editHorn Guide Review
 
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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)

As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends, an abusive father, and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him until he finds an ally in Lil Spicer--a fiery young lady. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon's birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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