BOOK REVIEW: OKAY FOR NOW

ImageOKAY FOR NOW by Gary D. Schmidt

Read from March 30 to 31, 2013

Rating 5/5 stars

Okay for Now was first published on April 5th 2011, making it his eleventh published work. This is another historical fiction written by Gary D. Schmidt that was told by a teen named Douglas ‘Doug’ Swieteck. If you’ve read The Wednesday Wars, this wouldn’t be the first time you’ll hear of him. He first made an appearance as Holling’s classmate and eventually turned out to be his friend. Doug was more than a skinny thug, and he’s more than sure of that.

The story started when Doug and his family moved to a little upstate town in New York called Marysville, to accommodate proximity to his dad’s new job. Doug wasn’t very pleased with the decision. I couldn’t count the times he mentioned how he hate that stupid town. But in the course of time, he learned quite a lot of things about its people, whom he grew accustomed of.

There he met Lil Spicer, the quick-tempered daughter of the owner of the town grocery store; Mr Powell, the librarian who taught him how to draw; Mrs Windermere, the grumpy old woman who thinks the angel of God sits with her and enables her to write more plays; and a lot more.

Along the way he tried to readjust his cranky relationship with his abusive father, school mates, teachers, war veteran brother, neighbors, and even his other brother who, according to him, has a twisted criminal mind.

Other awesome factors in this book are:

  • John James Audubon’s Birds of America 1981
  • Doug’s obsession to Joe Pepitone
  • Jane Eyre
  • wrestling match in PE (I just love this, okay?)
  • Doug’s performance during Jane Eyre’s play
  • AND HELLUVA LOT MORE

I found this book in a book sale and I haven’t had an idea what’s this about. All I know was that he wrote The Wednesday Wars, so I bought it. I must say, that is one of the best decision I’ve made.  The level of respect I have for the author has come into an even higher degree. There is so much to learn while you go along its pages. As usual, it’s bone-achingly funny, inspiring and a little bit sad all at once.

The author have created vital characters that even just the thought of leaving one might ruin the mood of the story. He’s stitched all the scenes to make a beautifully-written prose. It’s just flawless.

There were moments when you want to drag his abusive father to jail for doing such horrible things to Doug. There were plenty of scenes wherein you just want to give him a big hug and to tell him that everything’s going to be fine. He’s too young to suffer such awful things and yet he seemed to survive. He’s one skinny delivery boy who has the ability to steal his readers’ hearts.

Gary D. Schmidt hurt my tummy ’cause I couldn’t stop laughing that I found it hard to breathe. He also hurt my jaw for making me smile a great number of times, and last, hurt my heart for making a heart-shattering novel that will always have a special part in me. He broke my heart in a bazillion little pieces but somehow managed to put it back together. You know how that feels?

TERRIFIC. I’m not being sarcastic, as opposed to Doug’s sardonic response to almost everything.

“When you find something that’s whole, you do what you can to keep it that way.

And when you find something that isn’t, then maybe it’s not a bad idea to try to make it whole again. Maybe.” ― Gary D. Schmidt, Okay for Now

BOOK REVIEW: The Wednesday Wars

ImageTHE WEDNESDAY WARS by Gary D. Schmidt

Read from March 29 to 30, 2013

Rating: 5/5 stars

It has been a while since I last acknowledged someone as my favorite author. After reading this book, I think I just fell in love with the way Gary D. Schmidt writes. And I’m asking myself “why did you read this just lately?“.

The Wednesday Wars was first published in 2007, was given the Newberry Honor Medal in 2008 and was also nominated for the Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award. In this compelling young adult historical fiction, the protagonist, Holling Hoodhood has just entered 7th Grade in Camillo Junior High in Long Island, New Jersey in the year 1967. During Wednesdays, all his classmates had to proceed to their respective religion instruction places while he’s left with his teacher, Mrs. Baker. If there’s one thing Holling was sure of, it’s that Mrs. Baker doesn’t like him. He told everyone in his house about his ‘problem’ but unfortunately found no one to be his ally. His mom thinks that he’s just over-thinking things; while his dad told him to be in his best behavior because Mrs Baker could be the next prospect client for their company. The last person would be his sister, who he thinks is not a very good choice at the moment. According to him, asking your sister to be your ally is like asking North Caroline to go to battle with you.

Then there goes his quest the whole school year.  All the mishaps he’s gotten into together with his friends were recounted in this wonderfully written work. This is one of those books that can make you laugh out loud because of how witty the author wrote the entirety of it. At the same time, the book was so inspiring on its own. Mr Schmidt didn’t have to exaggerate things just to sound funny; it all comes  naturally. The characters were very likable. They’re the types of fictional people who are absolutely amusing in their own ways. Mrs Baker, Holling’s teacher reminds me of Mr Keating in The Dead Poets Society. I have a weak spot with fictional teachers who are so much of an inspiration to their students. Maybe it’s because I want to be one someday, right after I’m done with being an accountant, I guess.

Who would also forget these things?

  • Mrs Bigio’s brown, light, perfect cream puffs with chalk dust on top
  • Shakespeare and his insults
  • The rats, Sycorax and Caliban
  • Autograph signing with the pied ninny Mickey Mantle
  • Another autograph signing and baseball game with Joe Pepitone and Horace Clark
  • the war in Vietnam
  • Holling’s first ever play as Ariel wearing his bright yellow tights with the feather on his butt
  • Ford Mustang!
  • local hero news
  • Doug’s asshat brother
  • Hoodhood and Associate VS Kowalski Construction
  • Quality of mercy is strained.
  • Pied ninny. Just swell. Toads, beetles, bats.
  • Danny, Meryl, Mai Thi
  • Multiple death threats

I just love, love, love, love, love this book. There’s so much to appreciate and admire from this book and from the ever-witty author who made it possible for us to meet all these awesome characters. I felt heavyhearted when I finished the book.

I recommend this to everyone!! After all, it was worth the Newberry Award!

“A comedy is about character who dare to know that they may choose a happy ending after all. That’s how I know.” – Gary D. Schmidt, The Wednesday Wars