Book Review: Okay for Now, by Gary D. Schmidt

Okay for Now, by Gary D. Schmidt

Sandpiper, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

A cruel father, an abusive brother returning from Vietnam, and another brother determined to make life a living hell; that’s enough misery to fill anyone with hate and rage, but Doug Swieteck finds an unlikely outlet for his emotions. Doug discovers that he can draw.

When Doug’s father is fired from his job at a lumber company in Long Island, New York, he packs the family up and moves them to upstate New York, where his buddy, Ernie Eco, has lined up a position for him at the local paper mill. Doug’s father is abusive to his wife and kids. His older brother, Chris, is a trouble-maker and is soon accused of robbing several stores in their new home town. His oldest brother, also abusive to Doug, is scheduled to return from Vietnam after his tour-of-duty is cut short by enemy fire. Who knows what battles Lucas will be fighting when he returns?

Okay for Now is filled with laughs, as well as disappointments and misunderstandings. Just when things are going well for Doug, life punches him in the gut. Along the way, there is bribery, deceit, and conniving. If you are not paying attention, you might miss important clues about the way things work in this world. This story is a reminder that while life isn’t always an easy journey, it’s still worth the price you pay for the ticket.

Reading this story brought on a myriad of emotions: from anger at the abusive father, and the mother who did nothing to stop the abuse, to elation for Doug on discovering his artistic ability, and then to fear that he might lose the one person in which he can confide the horrors of his home life. You’ll feel these emotions, as well, when you read Okay for Now.

Rating: 5 STARS

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