The Spectacular Now – Tim Tharp

“The Spectacular Now” is the story of a young budding alcoholic who believes in letting life just happen and not worrying about much of anything. With his girlfriend Cassidy threatening their relationship if he doesn’t shape up, his best friend attempting to ease up on the partying, his family down his throat, Sutter takes the high road and ignores it all. Preferring to live life somewhere between buzzed and passed out. He meets Aimee one day, and things don’t so much change as evolve. He decides she’s a disaster and that it’s his duty to save her. 

Told in a spectacular narrative from Sutter Keely’s point of view this book moves. It is a beautiful collection of words into motion. It is told at a steady pace that keeps the pages turning, it is told with a dark humour and glorious realism. Sutter has just enough beauty in him to keep you feeling sympathetic, but just enough flaws to make him realistic. This book tugs on heart strings in all the best ways. It’s a true testament to literature and to human nature. I cannot properly express why you should read this book without simply saying: read this book. 

For more information about Tim Tharp or his other books visit his blog

As an aside I also did watch the movie. The movie was beautiful but terribly different. There was enough of the book in the movie that it was beautiful (direct book quotes!) and things that were cut seemed like good editing decisions. There were a few semi-trivial changes that didn’t seem to make much sense to me overall (his moms profession, the fact that he was taking algebra versus geometry etc). But the ending is completely different from the book. Both endings are great, but imply very, very different outcomes. I recommend reading the book then watching the movie and playing the “compare contrast” game. Just remember, they’re two separate mediums and deserve to be viewed and respected as such. 

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