After I posted my take on Gary D. Schmidt’s Okay For Now, some guy named Richard Peck decided to post his review at some tabloid or something …
OK, OK, Richard Peck is an award winning author not just some guy.
Anywho, he has an interesting take on the book. He admits the plot is full to the point of breaking the plausibility isn’t always the hightest but, like me, in the end he couldn’t help but love the book.
Happily, Doug lives in a world where an unhappy boy in desperate need of guidance is passed from one nurturing adult to the next, beginning with the elderly librarian, Mr. Powell, who reaches past Doug’s defenses to teach him how to draw the birds that have moved him so. Meanwhile, as Doug studies “Jane Eyre” in English class, Charlotte Brontë’s diction begins to seep into his vocabulary, just as Audubon’s birds seep into his soul. Next he takes up Aaron Copland. This is a kid who once counted as his sole hero the Yankees’ Joe Pepitone.
“Okay for Now” is crowded with more incident and empowerment than any eighth-grade year or novel can quite contain. Events stretch credulity. At one point, Doug turns up briefly on the Broadway stage, playing a female role, no less. But Schmidt is a master of the unlikely.
I read it all through misting eyes. Flirting with despair on its way to affirmation, “Okay for Now” is about how one kid, among legions, has to reach beyond his family for help from the other adults in his life to give him a hand.
I think this is one of those books where authorial skill and the power of the story overcome any weaknesses in plot. So yeah, Richard Peck agrees with me.