Review: The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now – Tim Tharp

Sutter Keely is both the life of the party and kind of a joke.  He’s that kid we all knew, who was always up for a good time and would often take things too far, but always managed to walk away from things unscathed.  His drinking is definitely a problem, though he certainly wouldn’t agree.  He is actually as charming as he thinks he is, but I still wouldn’t let him through the front door of my house.  Over the course of the book he begins to see the consequences of his behavior and the toll it takes on his closest friends, but whether he’ll be able to do anything about it is up in the air.

I think I’ve seen this book criticized for having too adult of a voice, that teenage boys would never speak like these characters do or want to read about them.  But I think older teens do, stoners of all ages do, but I still don’t know that those kids are ever going to pick this book up.  Because in the context of the story I get what it’s going for, but I think this cover is just awful.

I really enjoyed this book, mostly because Sutter is so likable and you really do pull for him to make something of himself.  But the end, however “true” to the character, felt false and unsatisfying to me.  In the guise of doing the right thing, I think he’s just copping out again and that the reader is cheated of seeing him realize that doesn’t work with the rest of the book.

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