Sunday, March 20, 2016

Okay for Now, by Gary D. Schmidt

Doug Swieteck is a fourteen-year old who just moved to a new town.  With no friends and a lousy family, it seems as if the entire world is stacked up against him, at least until he meets Lil Spicer.  Lil is a fiery young lady who turns Doug on to his local library, a place of solitude of Doug’s otherwise stormy life.  As Doug discovers the joy of drawing, he works to integrate himself into the social web of small-town New York.

Even though Doug has his share of challenges to overcome, including a dysfunctional family, an abusive father, brushes with the law and a brother deployed to Vietnam, this is hardly an “issue” book.  Rather, Mr. Schmidt focuses more on Doug’s passion for drawing, and how having a creative outlet helps him manage all these stressors.  Drawing initially helps Doug escape from his troubled world, but later he uses his talents to begin healing it. 

This is a particularly raw, real story, and I appreciate the no-nonsense manner in which Mr. Schmidt told it.  I wouldn’t recommend the book for any young men under 14 or 15, but it’s a must-read for anyone old enough to handle to mature themes.

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