Friday, 22 August 2014

Review #13 - The Spectacular Now

Title: The Spectacular Now
Author: Tim Tharp
Publisher: Random House
Published: 2008

A brief synopsis; (Via Goodreads)
In the last months of high school, charismatic eighteen-year-old Sutter Keely lives in the present, staying drunk or high most of the time, but that could change when starts working to boost the self-confidence of a classmate, Aimee.

This is one of those books that I stumbled across as an Indie film, and then found out it was a book, and refused to watch the film until I've read the book.

My copy of the cover isn't like that; it's the film version, published in 2014 by Scholastic UK and looks like this:
and is, in my opinion, far prettier, but without all the promotional film writing and also has a nice little 'Buy one get one half price' sticker in the top right hand corner.

I also don't think that the synopsis above is very informative, so I'm going to type out what is printed on the back of my version:

Sutter's the guy you want at your party. He'll get everyone dancing. He'll get everyone in your parents' pool. He has no plans for university and will probably end up folding men's shirts for a living. But right now life's pretty fabuloso.
Until he meets Aimee. Aimee's clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help. It's up to Sutter to show her a splendiferous time and then let her go. 
 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.
Now, I suppose I should add a warning:

This book will make you want to party. It will cause you to cancel your Friday night plans of playing video games until 3 AM and make you attend a house party you swore you wouldn't due to being the only female in the vicinity. It will make you spill shots all down your front and eat pizza and Chinese at 1 AM. It will make you huddle in a two man tent with 5 other guys for a) warmth and b) protection from the more than slightly drunk zombie host. It will make you bruised from other people's bony and gangly limbs jabbing at you.

But it's not all bad!

It will make you laugh, and cry, and wonder, and then laugh some more.

I have rarely come across a YA book narrated by a male. I mean, I know there's Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska, and I love those books to pieces, I truly do, but they're just not the same as this. The only other book I feel on par with this masterpieces is 'It's Kind of a Funny Story' by Ned Vizzini. That was the other book I found as a film first, except I did actually watch that film.

I guess it's because this book is by an author I've never read before, which makes it refreshing.

From the get go, this book had me laughing. There was never a lull in the action, and I think that's because Sutter - the narrator and protagonist - is so charismatic. I've never met a character like that before, I think Tharp really did a tremendous job with this, and all the of the characterisation.

Because what it comes down to, is the fact that Sutter is a loner. He doesn't have friends, he just has people he knows/can party with if needs be. And I think that is an accurate portrayal for many, many youths nowadays. Not many of us have friends.

The whole theme of this book is 'living in the (spectacular) now'. Which is ironic, because Sutter's 'now' is anything but spectacular; that's just a huge, massive bravado he puts on face.

And because of this theme, the ending is so infuriating. Because, essentially, there is no ending. Something reoccurring throughout the whole book is that Sutter has no long-term plans, and never will. Which is why the ending is as it is, I believe- it doesn't show Sutter moving forward. It shows him stuck in the Spectacular Now, and it doesn't resolve any of his issues.

Sure, they've been resolved, for the moment, but they haven't been resolved properly. Which is horrible for nosey people like me, who want to know.

I don't know, but I loved this book. I really did.

Star Rating: 5/5

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