Book and Movie Review – The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

This is a story about the amazing Sutter Keely.
He’s the boy you want in every party. Well actually, he’s the life of every party.

Sutter Keely is a senior high school boy. His mom ditched his dad because he is so irresponsible. Sutter is not an ordinary boy, as I told you before, he is the life of every party. He doesn’t have good grades, though, but he is so social, if you know what I mean. He befriends with everybody. He never thinks about his future, he devoted his self as the one who lives in the now.

Sutter has a beautiful girlfriend named Cassidy who had stayed with him two months longer than Sutter’s ex-girlfriends. Cassidy is a social girl who planned her future, not like Sutter, of course.

One day, Sutter tried to hook his best friend Ricky with someone since he never had a girlfriend before. On the weekend, Sutter hooked Ricky with Bethany. While accompanying Ricky and Bethany on their first date, Sutter had a chat with Bethany’s friend named Tara. Tara said that she was celebrating the day his step dad got ditched by her mom and Sutter said he had his dad ditched too. In fact, he boasted that his dad is a successful businessman who worked on the top of Chase building, which was actually a lie. He didn’t know where his dad is. All he could do is to get drunk and missed him.

When Sutter had a talk with Tara, Cassidy suddenly approached them. She thought that Sutter cheated on her -which is obviously not- and she broke up with him. She once told him to think about her feelings but she said he couldn’t and they broke up. Though they still love each other, Cassidy decided to say goodbye to him. I think that what she had done is right. Sutter isn’t supposed to be with Cassidy, he’s just an obstacle to Cassidy’s bright future.

Well, Sutter is a party-man, so it wasn’t too shocking if he got drunk every day and every single time. One morning, he woke up alone at a stranger’s lawn after partying all night. His eyes met Aimee Finecky’s, the girl who woke him.

Aimee Finecky is a total nerd. She never had a boyfriend. She’s a madly fanatic lover of comics, sci-fi, space, horses, and else. She always eat at the canteen -which is a nerdy thing from Sutter’s eyes. However, she got good grades and she wanted to be a worker at NASA.

When Sutter found out that Aimee delivers newspaper on early morning to pay half of the bill and never stand for herself, Sutter decided to be her savior. Sutter taught her to be more social and brave enough to defend her self. He also taught her how to party, how to hook up with boys, and how to get drunk.

One day, Ricky asked him about the “What if she falls for you, Sutter?” thingy. Sutter said that she won’t and he won’t. Aimee is not the girl he’s going to date with, he thought. But he is absolutely wrong. Somehow, Aimee’s smoothness and care were able to bring the best side of Sutter’s out, like he is a different good guy. And somehow, Sutter fells in love with Aimee.

Sutter really thought that he was the savior of Aimee’s life but he was wrong. He turned Aimee to be a bad-girl-to-be. She was now an alcoholic and she easily swear to everyone. Ricky and Cassidy tried to make him understand about what he had done, but Sutter is so stubborn. Until one day, Sutter found out that his real dad is someone who can only take a somebody’s bright future. He realized that he was bad for Aimee. He realized that he was taking Aimee’s bright future.

When Aimee asked Sutter to move in with her in her new apartment when she’s in college, Sutter said yes while the fact is he won’t be going. When they shared their last kiss, Sutter thought that he did have a future to be given to Aimee, but not the one which includes him.

At the end of the story, he said goodbye, to everything, to his dad, to the past, to the future, and to Aimee and Cassidy. He said goodbye as he disappeared to the middle of his spectacular now.

I must say that I love this story so much! It sure is a heart-breaker novel, but it has A LOT OF moral values in it. Tim Tharp made a lovable character named Sutter and he somehow made Sutter as a wise man in a way. Here’s some of the line I love the most from this novel:

Here’s my problem with the public display of affection-it’s undemocratic. It’s like here’s this couple and they’re reigning over their own little universe and no one else is invited. My universe is way too vast for that. Once I get a girl alone, it’s different, but until then I’m like, Come on, come all! Bring your cousins, bring your dogs. No one’s excluded. But here’s my best friend, practically building a border fence to keep the rest of us out.

I go, “Embarrassment’s a waste of time. Now, where’s the hot tub? I need a hot tub. I’m an injured man.”

Life is an ocean, an most everyone’s hanging on to some kind of dream to keep afloat. Me, I’m just dogpaddling on my own, but Aimee’s lifesaver’s a beauty. I love it. Anyone would if they could see the way her face beams as she clutches that thing with all her strength.

Tim Tharp also mention some true facts about life which is so true. Here’s one:

I don’t know why calling someone Mister is supposed to underline the seriousness of a situation, but it seems to be a pretty common tactic among adults.

Aaand back to the topic. Why do I say that his novel is a heart-breaker? Because this novel is so honest. At first, Sutter’s purpose is to save Aimee. She’s too naive and a girl shouldn’t be like that. At least a girl should have fun, right? I think his purpose is good. But, however, the execution of his purpose is in a bad way. I don’t thing that making a girl alcoholic is a good thing. Sure, it may gives fun, but it’s wrong. Both Sutter and Aimee didn’t know it, but both of them were together going to be a much worse person. Until one day, one of them -Sutter- realized that he’s not good for her and he loved her very much so he tried to keep their distance. I feel that it’s just a sweet, sweet sacrifice. It’s like you love someone, but you’re too bad for someone, and you should let them go if you want them to reach their happiness. It’s just so sweet and heart-breaking!

And for the movie, it’s so FANTASTIC! Miles Teller (Sutter Keely) and Shailene Woodley (Aimee Finecky) are able to brought the characters perfectly. There’s a scene when Sutter said that he was bad for Aimee in the car and it’s so emotional, and Miles and Shailene acted perfectly!

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However, the ending is different. In the novel, Sutter gave up to his life. But in the movie, he didn’t give up. Instead, he realized his wrong doings and he became a good person. In the movie, he ended following Aimee to college. Though it gives a less feels, but I think it’s alright. It seems that the scriptwriter (Michael H. Weber) emphasizes the moral value than the feels. It’s great actually, I don’t have to cry all night long, hehe 🙂

So, overall, this novel and the movie are worth to read/watch and highly recommended (especially to those who get lost in their teen age)!

Title: The Spectacular Now
Writer: Tim TharpTim Tharp - The Spectacular Now

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