Doug Swieteck: Okay For Now

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“I’m a chump. So what?” says Doug Swieteck (pg. 123 Okay for Now, Gary D. Schmidt). Doug has no real friends, a criminal brother, a father who does not care, and receives the shocking news his family is moving to a little place no one has ever heard: Marysville, New York. Anyone feels terrible in that situation, especially with no one to help. He also takes on a grocery delivery job, learning to read, babysitting, becoming an artist, being in a play, and returning missing pages to an Audubon book of birds. Over the course of Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, Doug luckily meets a few adults who assist him with the struggles he faces. With Mrs. Windermere, Coach Reed, and Mr. Powell to guide him, Doug will navigate his new life in Marysville…show more content…
He declares war with Coach Reed, the Physical Education teacher when Doug refuses to go over to the skins team. It escalates to the zenith where Coach rips Doug’s gym shirt in half, exposing a tattoo Doug’s father had inked permanently on Doug’s chest that says “Mama’s Baby”. From them on, Doug is full of hatred towards Coach Reed, who he nicknames the, “So-Called Gym teacher,” (Schmidt pg. 199). In his rage, Doug bypasses the wrestling unit until Principal Peaty requires him to take two periods of gym to make up for it. Doug’s fury burns until he catches a glimpse of Coach’s clipboard, full of detailed sketches picturing the Vietnam War. This hits especially close to home for Doug because his brother, Lucas, has recently returned home missing both of his legs. Suddenly, Doug sees Coach in a whole new way; he views Coach as someone who has many gruesome experiences he struggles with. Doug wants Coach to help Lucas, who is dealing with his own burdens of war, but Coach always brushes off his requests. Finally, one day outside the library, Coach Reed says to Lucas, “‘Maybe you could come work for me’,” (Schmidt pg. 337). This influences Doug indirectly because Lucas now has a job, making him feel purposeful, and the money Lucas makes is going towards Doug’s future college education. Though Doug and Coach Reed get off the a rocky start, they eventually mend their differences and help each other in
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