Friday, December 12, 2014

Review Week Day 5 | "The Spectacular Now" by Tim Tharp

This week's review is over a book that has risen some in popularity since the release of the movie adaptation. While I usually prefer reading the book first, I watched the film before I knew the novel existed, and I have to say this is one of those rare cases that I preferred the movie to the source material.
Before I go any further into my thoughts, though, here is the book's Goodreads description:

The Spectacular Now
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.


I didn't hate this book, but I didn't love it either and I think the reason for that is Sutter himself. He wasn't a bad narrator. The writing was believable for a teenage boy who just wants to live in the moment and can't be bothered to plan out a future. However, he's not a good guy. Sure he's supposed to be the charismatic school clown, but reading from his perspective makes the reader realize how misguided he is. How much of an ignorant jerk Sutter can be.
 In the film, he comes across as a guy with good intentions but no drive to accomplish anything, Aimee is this shy, outcast of a girl who is comfortable in her skin. In the book he isn't as kind hearted and Aimee is painfully awkward and self conscious. 
The storyline is very real and it progresses exactly the way it would in real life, and that makes it uncomfortable to read. The ending is very up in the air and leaves the reader craving  the loose ends be tied up, but they aren't. I understand the literary choice, but it makes it difficult to rate the book. It's realistic, but it isn't what a lot of readers would want in their contemporary fiction. 
In the end, I am glad I read it. I recommend this book for people looking for a poignant look into the life of a boy that could be any teenager off the street. I think this would be a great book to read for school and can see how a lot of aspects to the story can be discussed and debated among students. 
If you're looking for something a little more heartwarming, I recommend watching the movie. It's rated R, and still has the essence of the book's story, but it also has a sweeter edge to it.

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