THE SPECTACULAR NOW is a novel written by American author Tim Tharp. The reason, why I decided to purchase and read this book, was a film I saw last year named by the same name. It caught my attention .
Mr Tharp wrote a story of Sutter Keely. A high school guy who breezes through life with the attitude of living in NOW. Sutter is the popular guy with a gorgeous girlfriend, a car and a job. He doesn't care about the future, the most important thing for him at the moment is to enjoy the spectacular life he leads to the fullest. That changes when his girlfriend breaks up with him. He finds himself coping with it with the only way he knows - drinking and partying. That is when Aimee Finnecky finds him - past out drunk on a yard of someone's home early hours of sunday morning. Sutter likes Aimee - she is smart, beautiful, nice... But she lets everyone walk right over her. So Sutter takes up on himself to teach Aimee how to say NO and enjoy the life.
Firstly, I have to say that I saw the film adaptation of the book first, so I couldn't help but to compare. Of course, with it comes that I kind of knew what the book is about and what comes next, but luckily Mr Tharp managed to make sure that I could lost in the novel itself.
The story is written from Sutter's point of view. I must say that Sutter in the book seems to be much more arrogant. He thinks that he knows it all and is always right. He doesn't know what responsibility is or how to deal with anything serious. He just seems to cruise through life in alcohol delirium. He is just a careless guy who doesn't plan anything in the future. He lives for now.
Aimee is much more geeky than in the film and the relationship she has with Sutter seems different to the one in the film. She is naive and addicted to being with Sutter. And Sutter gives her mixed messages. On one hand he is only with her to boost her confidence, but on the other hand he does these sweet things for her. The story and relationship of these two characters is so much darker and less romantic.
The one surprising thing about the Sutter's character is how depressed he sometimes feels. I am not sure if it's me portraying the author's writing incorrectly or I am maybe right, but he seems to have a bipolar disorder.
But Mr Tharp managed to write Sutter story in very entertaining way. It was easy to read, especially as it was very modern and the writing mirrored the way teenagers talk to each other. He even managed to capture how the male brain works. There were moments I have truly laughed out loud while reading this story. And of course there were moments, when I got a little bit upset. But I did truly enjoy reading this story. It was entertaining, funny, smart, modern and very crazy. It was a ride like on a roller-coaster. It was spectacular.
I could relate to Sutter with his theory of living on certain level. I think moral of this story is: "Let's live the life the fullest. Let's enjoy The Spectacular Now.... with some barriers in mind."
Of course, I was left confused with the ending... For me Sutter Keely died in one of his alcohol induced night... Or just got so drunk and continue to live his life that way he did before - drunk without any responsibility... For me the story deserved a better ending. And this is where I prefer the film adaptation more.
But If we take the ending from the equation, the story is very entertaining and worth to read. Also I would like to recommend to watch the film adaptation of the book as I think that Miles Teller is the perfect Sutter Keely. He plays him wonderfully.
Some quotes from the book which are left on your mind after reading the book:
“Just remember this- weird's good. Embrace the weird, dude. Enjoy it because it's never going away.”
“Besides, it doesn't matter if it's real. It never does with dreams. They aren't anything anyway but lifesavers to cling to so you don't drown. Life is an ocean, and most everyone's hanging on to some kind of dream to keep afloat.”
“Nothing lasts," she says, and there's a little crack in her voice. "You think it's going to. You think, 'Here's something I can hold on to,' but it always slips away.”
“It's superb to be out in the early, early morning before the sun comes up. There's this sense of being super-alive. You're in on a secret that all the dull, sleeping people don't know about. Unlike them, you're alert and aware of existing right here in this precise moment between what happened and what's going to happen.”
“Books seem a little old-fashioned, but hey, I can do old-fashioned if it's good.”
“Our whole society's a training ground for addicts.”
“To hell with tomorrow. To hell with all problems and barriers. Nothing matters but the Spectacular Now.”