Monday, June 13, 2011

Okay for Now

By Gary D. Schmidt
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 stars

If you haven't read The Wednesday Wars by this author, that's okay, you don't need to for this book to make sense, but I recommend it highly.  In this story, Doug Swieteck is forced to move with his family up to nowheresville Maryville, New York in the summer of 1968 to a house Doug quickly names "The Dump."  Both his father and older brother are abusive, and Doug feels like the whole town is going to label him a stupid thug, too.  Then he wanders into the local library and sees a painting that changes his life.  It is of an Arctic Tern and it is an original plate by the famous Audubon.  Doug is fascinated, and although drawing is stupid, he can't resist when Mr. Powell the librarian begins to teach him how to draw.  And although every time it seems like something is looking up for Doug, something bad happens, still, life begins to balance out a bit more.  Then his older brother Lucas comes back from Vietnam, missing his legs.  And everything goes bad one more time.  But if there is one thing Doug begins to learn, it is if you don't want to be a chump, you have to be the one who makes the effort to change how people see you.  This is a fantastic story and readers will be hard put to not fall hard for the wonderful character of Doug and all he goes through to come out the other side.  Wonderful, through and through.