Book Review: Okay For Now

Author: Gary D. Schmidt

Publisher: Clarion Books, 2011

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

My Rating: A+

I first wanted to listen to this boA+ok when I learned it won The Odyssey Award. That’s an award for the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults. It was so good I decided to read the hardcopy. Honestly, when it was time to turn that back in to the library, I just hated to give it back. I told that to the librarian and she just laughed. She said I would be surprised how often that happens.

My granddaughter, Q, had a similar reaction. Her seventh-grade Core teacher was reading the book to them, a little every day. Q couldn’t wait so she went to the library for her own copy. There is something about this book that makes readers want to have their own copy.

Does anyone remember life in middle school? It’s been many years for me, but just a few chapters into Okay For Now and it all came back to me. The story revolves around Doug’s life in the 1960s. Here’s how the publisher described the story:

When his family moves to Maryland, New York, Doug couldn’t be less impressed. The library is the only place to go in town, and it’s only open on Saturdays. There, however, he met his first friend and takes an interest in fine art. Unfortunately, school offers no nourishment to his fascinated mind, and poor performance in gym class earns him several detentions. Doug’s miserable life includes a dysfunctional family until the works of Audubon help him see that his life might just be “okay.”

Moving to a new town and/or school in the midst of middle school can be painful. It happened to me. Reading Okay For Now brought it all back. I could identify with the problems Doug felt. Fortunately for me, I had a loving and supportive father. Doug did not. From my adult perspective I believe that the problems Doug’s family faced were squarely the fault of the father. But in spite of that, Doug’s attitude carries him through.

Doug is a great character as are the other people in the book. I loved Lil. She was a great companion for Doug. Also a couple of Doug’s teachers were the supportive kond of people they should be. Of course, one of them made me want to read Jane Eyre again.The story progresses through the school year and follows Doug and his family’s adjustment to their new town. The author had me pulling for them all the way.

The audiobook was, by far, the best way to experioence Okay For Now. I usually download audios to my ipod and listen to books while I’m working, walking or doing other projects. In this case there were times when I simply stopped everything and just listened. It was so good I was unable to think about anything else. Lincoln Hoppe was the narrator. He gave a superb performance. It was a 9.5 hour read.

Recommend? Absolutely – by both Q and I. Don’t shy away because it’s a middle-school book. If at all possible, get the audiobook version.


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7 Responses to Book Review: Okay For Now

  1. Staci says:

    I have this book on my school shelves so this is one that I will be checking out for sure. I will be looking for the audio version too!!! Loved your reviews on this one!!!!

  2. I read this book and loved it too! I’m a fan of Schmidt for sure. You need to get Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy on audio if you haven’t read that one yet.

  3. Melissa Mc says:

    An absolutely amazing book!!!!!

  4. Beth F says:

    I love Schmidt’s work. I really need to read this one. Well, listen!

  5. Ti says:

    Sounds fabulous. My middle school years were fun in a lot of ways because I didn’t realize what a goofball I really was. I went through it blissfully thinking I was pretty cool. LOL. Not!

  6. kaye says:

    you always find the best books. I enjoyed your comments and your little walk down memory lane.

  7. stacybuckeye says:

    Per your awesome recommendation I’m adding this to my wish list.

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