Okay For Now
by Gary D. Schmidt
Wow. Schmidt's books take my breath away. I first read The Wednesday Wars more than a year ago when someone selected it for our book club.... and I loved it. I was completely surprised by what was supposed to be "juvenile fiction" (featuring a 7th-grade protagonist) when it turned out to be filled with mature themes (in a good way), a fantastic plot, great characters, and excellent writing.
Okay For Now picks up where The Wednesday Wars left off.... sort of....with a different protagonist (he was a minor character before)/point of view and setting (I would recommend reading The Wednesday Wars first, though it isn't mandatory). The story is sometimes heartbreaking (you are bound to find yourself sniffling through much of it, but there is also plenty to grin about), slightly painful and yet tender. It's a powerful story about love and loss, overcoming and surviving, friendship and family. It will leave you feeling that most people in this world are actually good people deep down....and you will want to go hug your family.
As I mentioned, the themes are fairly mature, and the story takes place in 1968-1969, so a younger reader who doesn't understand the context of the Vietnam war might not get as much out of the story. I'm glad I read this before my 12-year-old (who I know will love it as he did The Wednesday Wars after I recommended it to him) so we can discuss it. Amazingly, this is still a story that is totally appropriate for the middle-school set..... Schmidt writes for that audience, but doesn't talk down to them. And yet, it reads like a novel for adults in many ways. Schmidt does a great job of writing for both audiences, in a very entertaining style.
The only "language" I recall is one or two common exclamations of deity.
Has anyone else read anything by Gary Schmidt? I can't wait to read more of his books.
Recommended for ages 12 and up.