Overview & Rating
The protagonist, Sutterman, is someone you instantly feel familiar with. He is a professional socializer with the only long term goal of finding where get booze from next. The novel follows Sutter in his senior year of high school and at a crossroads. His family wants him to grow up. He wants to stay young and immature. He stumbles across Aimee and wants to change her life. There is the possibility that could she could also divert him from the road he is on. Finding a person to balance you out and bring out your good qualities can ultimately change your life. Tim Tharp gives us hope that people can change, but in the end you will find yourself annoyed and disappointed.
I began to read this book because I remembered hearing a lot about it during Sundance last year and noted that the film starred Shailene Woodley. After Divergent this 22 year old actress is going to be rolling in dough!
If I may talk about Shailene Woodley for a moment… I must say that I like her attitude. I don’t know what it is about her, but I like that she is so young but seems mature and poised. Although, I’m not too sure that her acting is all that great. Time will tell. The unfortunate reason I never got on the Jennifer Lawrence bandwagon-she’s too clutzy and clueless for my taste. A lot of people find her charming in that way, but I just find it a tad annoying. It’s too bad because I think she is a pretty amazing actress. I just can’t stand her sloppiness. Lawrence is 23 and falling over the place in her heels and in interviews occasionally word vomits all over the place. Not cute in my eyes. Woodley on the other hand, speaks in interviews as if she knows what she wants and although she’s a cute young gal, she doesn’t show a lot of signs of immaturity. She COULD be more fashionable. She wore shortie short denim jeans and flip flops to a Divergent screening. A bit tacky and knocked off some points, but I digress…
This book was a National Book Award Finalist, but I would not have voted for it to be there. The Spectacular Now is about Sutterman Keely. He is an eccentric, random drunkard that has no real motivation to do anything useful with his life, but everyone wants him around for a laugh or to rile people up. Everyone knows a character like Sutter – someone that has so much potential and amazing abundance of social skills that could be used to get so far in life, but instead they waste their super power on booze, drugs, with the wrong crowd, or simply because they rather be a sloth. Sutter is shallow, irresponsible, and going through a downward spiral when he stumbles (drunkenly) upon a person that could possibly alter his life. Aimee is an innocent, feeble and sweet girl that has no stake with the high school “in crowd”. She is under appreciated and mousey, but Sutter starts to highlight and nurture her hidden qualities, assist her in valuing her opinions, and find the worth in speaking her mind. What began as a pity-party for poor Aimee, slowly starts to unfold into something deeper.
The question is, will Aimee be able to change Sutter as well? The answer is: not enough. The ending of the book made me question the message that was trying to be conveyed. Once lost, always lost? People don’t change? I could have enjoyed this book more if it didn’t annoy me how ignorant Sutter tried to act all the time. There are so many people without motivation in our society that I don’t feel the need to read about it.
It is quite spectacular, now that I’ve finished the book.