on January 22, 2009
I suppose I'm not in the target audience for this novel, but in general I'm a sucker for gritty stories of street life and things of that nature.
In "Okay," we have the story of a teenage runaway who leaves home with her friend London because of an abusive father. Marple's writing has an immediacy and attention to detail that makes this girl, and the world she lives in, feel authentic. Marple knows her character well, and even if I want to grab this girl when she's making one of her several stupid decisions and shake her and shout in her face, "THINK about what you're doing," it feels real. Marple keeps me reading, hoping things will turn out... Okay.
on January 30, 2009
The first word that comes to mind when describing Katherine Marple's latest work, "Okay," is POWERFUL! Once again, Miss Marple shows the depth of her insight when dealing with tragedy and misfortune. Her characters virtually leap off the page, and the storytelling is so real as to be painful. Great read on a snow night. This is a "chick" book no doubt, but guys might want to give it a shot - just to find out what the other side is really like...
on October 30, 2008
Katherine delivers yet another addition to her already growing library of success. This story is based on a young girl who searches for comfort in her friend London. It tells a tale of abuse, which her alcoholic father brings upon her. Very difficult to put down. The way Katherine writes is so visionary, that you almost feel you are right there with her. I definitly suggest this book!! You wont be disappointed.
on February 7, 2009
The book is well-written and I was shocked to discover it was penned by Katherine Marple when she was fifteen.
It's a very vivid and realistic story of a teenage girl's inner struggle to deal with the past and hope for her future. The dynamic she experienced with London was deeper than friendship and romance. It was true love.
on January 15, 2010
Sixteen is a pivotal age, stranded between childhood and adulthood. At sixteen life ranges from ecstasy to despair and the cause of the emotion can be trivial or momentous. I remember wanting to be taken seriously, to be treated more as an adult than a child. To be free to make my own decisions for the course of my life. But of course, along with the freedom of decision, comes responsibility and consequences for those choices.
In Katherine Marple's novel, Okay, the sixteen-year-old unnamed female protagonist makes choices which swiftly alter the course of her life, and takes her best friend, and protector, London with her. After setting up the pair as best friends, living in the same neighborhood, in the same style homes, the differences are revealed. London has a loving, supportive family to come home to, while the protagonist fears her alcoholic, abusive father. Coming home late from a graduation party with London, the protagonist attempts to sneak into the house avoiding her father's wrath, unsuccessfully. When he has beaten and choked her, and threatened her with more abuse and potential rape, the protagonist runs to her best friend to enlist his help.
"Please," I begged. "Let's go now."
He solemnly nodded his head, stroked my hair, and whispered, "Okay."
Having convinced London to abandon his loving home, his college career, and essentially his future to run away with her, the protagonist wastes no time in making bad decision after bad decision along the way. Drugs, alcohol, and sex with relative strangers, and all the while London is there to pick up the pieces. The protagonist is on a roller coaster of emotion from the freedom of living a life she has never known before to the despair over some of the choices she has made.
Marple presents a strong, clear point of view with her unnamed protagonist, and while I found the pacing to be a little quick, lacking in emotional depth with the heavy topics the book covers, the voice is unwavering and draws the reader along. For the bulk of the book, the lack of a name for the main character was not an issue, but a few times felt a bit gimmicky. The narrator herself explains the lack of name.
My name isn't important. What is important is helping someone hope for a better view, at the end of his pain. That is the purpose of my story; to help someone heal.
Reviewed for the LL Book Review
The novel follows an unnamed 16 year old girl through her tribulations with an alcoholic father. Upon reaching her last straw, she decides to run away from home with her best friend's (London) help. The plot follows these two on the road to find a new home and acceptance. Please note this is not a book for the timid. It is a bit graphic in its usage of alcoholism, drugs, and even sex.
Okay is one of the most poignant novels that I have ever read. It is heartbreaking, sweet, bitter. However, it is also very frustrating. I really wanted to love our main character, but for some reason I had a hard time connecting with her. I am not sure if this is due to the situation that she is in, or more than likely, due some of the decisions that she made. For example, one of the hardest issues to read about was her drug usage. And to be honest, I seriously considered quitting the novel after reading that scene since I expected more from this lead character than that. However, her redeeming feature was London. He is everything that a knight in shining armor should be. And he is the ying to her yang.
All in all, this is a beautiful novel. It is a page turner that forces its reader to look into a situation that normally that they would not experience. Marple deals wonderfully with the issue of abuse and alcoholism. It amazes me to think that she wrote this book originally when she was 15. The depth and insight that she possesses as a writer is astounding. This book may not be for everyone; however, I think that it is definitely worth a try.
on November 6, 2009
She was planning on biding her time until graduation. She endured her father's demeaning talk and physical cruelty, wishing for the day to come when she could leave and never look back. That day came much sooner than she planned when he took a small step toward sexual abuse. She knew that it would never stop, so she left.
But she was not alone. She would never be alone as long as she had London. London would always be her best friend. He had always been and would always be there for here, but soon she will have to learn to stand on her own.
This book is a fairly quick read, but its story will stay with you long after finishing the last page. I found myself rooting for the protagonist through the entire book, even when she was confused and made mistakes. After having such a painful past, I was continually wishing her a better future.
Never knowing the main character's name adds an air of mystery to this book. The reader goes along this journey with her, sees her through all the ups and downs, yet is withheld one of the first things we normally find out about people. At first, I found myself looking for her name, but as the story continued I concluded that it wasn't her name that really mattered but instead the girl herself.
This story's ending brought it to a bittersweet end. It made me think of the important things in life and made me thankful for the privileged life that I lead.
Reviewed by: Melanie Foust
on April 9, 2009
I really enjoyed reading this book. It's all about a sixteen year old girl whose best friend is a boy, London, who is in the year above her at school. They have known each other for seven years and are very close. The story is told in the first person from the perspective of the young girl (we never do learn her name - but as she says at the end of the novel 'my name isn't important').
The girl has suffered at the hands of an alcoholic father for many years and one night when things go too far, she decides to run away. The one person she can trust to help her is London. They pack up and leave in his jeep, heading from Maine to L.A.
Along the way they meet some colourful characters in an entertaining, action-packed and sometimes disturbing read.
The young girl tries to escape from her feelings and fears, but finds other dangers waiting to meet her.
Ultimately 'Okay' is about regret and learning to live with it, but it is also about hope and how people can come through the greatest of adversities and go on to live happy lives. This is the message that 'Okay' sets out to deliver and it does so in a very dramatic way.
This would probably be classed as a young adult novel, but does contain some graphic scenes. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good, thought-provoking book. I am sure Katherine Marple will be a name to look out for in the literary world for years to come.
on July 12, 2010
Katherine Marple's novel, actually, more of a novella, was one of the best things I have read from a relatively new published writer in recent memory. I read most of it in one sitting, because, when the story starts to unfold (which does not take long), I needed to know what happened next. The story is of a troubled young women fleeing her alcoholic father and going across the country from New England to California. At times, it read a little like "Girl, Interrupted" on a road trip; the tone can be quite stark and dark, but I like my literature to be full of any genuine emotion. At the heart of the story is the relationship between the young protaganist and her male best friend. Without giving away too much, I will just say, it's complicated.
In the beginning of the book Marple mentions that she developed the idea for the story as a teenager, envisioning it as a screenplay for a film. It never got made, but the book is sufficient. That the tale started as a screenplay certainly makes sense, as the propulsive nature of the pacing is something well-suited for film. If you are in the mood for a quick, but very emotional read, than I would certainly recommend this one. I'm glad I discovered this talented writer, I will be reading more of her work in the future!
on May 8, 2010
This is a book about identity, a girl who seems to rebel against being defined by the things that happen to her rather than who she really is-which, she sets out to find out. I suppose this is what is meant by the term coming-of-age in the truest sense, by defining onesself for onesself. Although the character does not identify herself by name, she comes to identify herself as one who endures.
I found the writing here to be strong and the character very sympathetic, and never pathetic or self-pitying (which is a deal-breaker for me). I felt I was befriending this girl, and I empathized with her, rather than sympathizing for her. My only suggestion is that some of the exposition be a little shorter as it bordered occassionally on being repetitive. But this is a small thing, and it doesn't detract from a great read by a promising young author, whose works I will continue to read, I have the feeling, for years to come. This book caused me to put Wretched, Marple's other work of fiction, on my shortlist, and I look forward to reading and reviewing it soon.