Monday, July 29, 2013

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

Release date: October 20, 2008
Author info: Website | Twitter
Publisher: Ember
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 304
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
SUTTER KEELY. HE’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.

Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.
Prior to seeing the trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation of The Spectacular Now, I'd never heard of it, but I could tell immediately that I needed both to read the book and watch the movie. If the movie is even close to as good and as fulfilling as the book, it's going to be absolutely heartbreaking and amazing. Sutter's voice quickly drew me in, with his seemingly happy-go-lucky look on life and his aversion to future plans. Even better, Tim Tharp's National Book Award finalist is not subtle in it's morality, but it doesn't need to be to pack a wallop.

Sutter's outlook on life is infectious. He lives for the moment. He doesn't make plans. He has a lot of ex-girlfriends, all of whom he has an excellent relationship with. But what makes Sutter endearing is also his greatest flaw. Because he doesn't make plans, he has no future. He doesn't pay attention in class and can't seem to muster enough interest to pass algebra. He doesn't believe anyone could possibly love him; he closes himself off emotionally--until he meets Aimee Finecky.

With Aimee, Sutter seems to find a way to care. He finds he wants to protect Aimee and he wants to help her, because everyone in Aimee's life treats her like dirt. He knows that giving Aimee confidence will vastly improve her life. But even as he's helping her, he's seeing the flaws in his own way of life and he knows the harm he can do to her. It's heartbreaking to watch, but it's also a beautiful and realistic look at their relationship and its power.

Just as Sutter realizes what is happening to him, we do as well. It takes his slow realization to break you from the spell of his endearing charm and his carefree attitude. As much as the ending will hurt, it is so worth the read.

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