Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Spectacular Now by Tim Sharp

Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):

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.

This insomniac's opininion:

I, like many bibliophiles, insist on reading the book before seeing the movie, if at all possible. I've been hearing great things about this movie and knew that I would be renting soon when it is available.

This is a very challenging book to rate, for several different reasons. So, if my review sounds a bit Bi-polar, I apologize. When I first began to read the novel, Sutter(the main character) seemed like a charismatic simpleton and I wasn't sure that I wanted to read an entire book about an alcoholic teenager that charms everyone around him. It seemed too shallow and oversimplified. However, the novel quickly progressed(very readable) and I became endeared to Sutter very quickly. It was extraordinarily challenging to watch Sutter throw his life away(and drag Aimee along with him). As a nurse who often works with pregnant teenagers, I recognized in Sutter the desperation for love that he wasn't getting anywhere and the desperate need to numb himself when his needs weren't met. I wanted so terribly to reach into the novel and hug him(yes, yes- I know this is a work of fiction, folks!).

I read this novel almost compulsively and found the ending to be lacking. Perhaps that is because I so desperately wanted someone, God- ANYONE!, to help Sutter. I wanted resolution and had none.

So, I'm left feeling at odds about how to rate the novel. I think its well written and painfully realistic. I do not believe that this should be categorized as a young adult novel and that fact laid heavily on me throughout the reading.The novel takes a very laisse-faire attitude to sex, drinking, drunken driving, drugs and higher education. I do realize that many teens feel the same way and it may be very realistic, but there were little consequences for Sutter in this novel and it lends the wrong idea of how life is. It is well-written, but leaves the reader wishing for more resolution and unsure of how Sutter's life will truly end.

Worth staying up all night to read?

Well, if you're going to watch the movie, yes! If you watch the movie without reading the book first, the bibliophile police might show up at your door and who wants that?


I'm gonna go all Switzerland with my rating and be perfectly neutral because I am feeling vexed by my myriad of feelings after reading it.  So, 3 stars it is!

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