OKAY FOR NOW
New York : Clarion Books, 2011
IL 5-8, RL 4.6
Doug Swietek is angry - angry his eldest brother is serving in Vietnam, angry his middle brother pounds on him regularly, and very angry Dad has lost his job and the family must move. Doug loves New York City and has no desire to move away; however, Dad has found a new job, which is supposed to have great pay. Doug discovers small town life might not be as bad as he thought as he finds he has a unknown talent for drawing. While taking drawing lessons at the library, Doug finds a book containing John Audobon prints. Unfortuantely, the book has had prints sold off to make some needed funds for the library. Doug vows to get the prints back by whatever means necessary. (NH Isinglass Teen Award nominee, 2013)
At the heart of Okay for Now is the sense of wonder Doug feels as he discovers a book of drawings by John James Audubon in a public library. Doug is captivated by the ever-changing emotions expressed by the birds in the drawings… emotions that Doug is experiencing in his real life.
In some ways, Doug is your typical middle schooler. He can be sarcastic and put up a tough front for his peers and teachers, but it’s easy to see through these defenses to the basic goodness right below the surface. It’s Doug’s vulnerability that makes him most appealing. And vulnerable he is--in a difficult situation--having moved to a new town, led there by a father whose hot temper snuffs out any chance his family might have at finding happiness in a new place. When school starts, Doug quickly becomes a pariah, suffering under the combined weight of his older brother’s bad reputation and a humiliating tattoo etched on his skin, a “birthday gift” forced on Doug by his drunken father. Only his friendship with Lil seems to offer him some emotional balance.
to the Audubon drawings, Doug’s quest to find pages
missing from the book mirrors his quest to make himself
whole. By the end, whatever the outcome of the
narrative, the reader is left with no doubt that Doug
has achieved what he set out to do.
Junior high schools -- Fiction.
Schools -- Fiction.
Friendship -- Fiction.
Family life -- New York (State) -- Fiction.
Audubon, John James, 1785-1851. Birds of America -- Fiction.
Coming of age -- Fiction.