Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Spectacular Now

Tharp, Tim. 2008. The Spectacular Now.

So it's a little before ten a.m. and I'm just starting to get a good buzz going.

The first sentences does indeed set the stage for this YA novel which was recently nominated for a National Book Award. The narrator, Sutter Keely, often refers to himself as "God's Own Drunk" and it's not a bad description seeing as how he likes to drink all day and all night seven days a week. He likes to party. He likes to cut classes. He does smoke weed occasionally. And you can't keep him from telling jokes and stories. Sound like good boyfriend material?

Cassidy doesn't think so. Sure, he's a great to hang out with. But he's not that great a listener. And he's afraid of commitment. He's crazy about her, but she wants someone who's really to grow up just a bit now that their graduation is just a few months away. She wants someone who isn't always thinking of himself first.

After their break up, Sutter happens to take on a pity project. A girl by the name of Aimee. How do they meet? He wakes up in a stranger's lawn after a hard day's night of drinking (and driving--he can't remember where he left the car). She's the paper girl delivering papers. She's a nerd to the core. Loves horses too. Has big dreams. Never had a boyfriend. Sutter wants to change all that. Not that he wants to be the one to date her...but he wants to make her dateable. This is how he describes his interest with her to one of his friends:

"Hey, I told you--I'm not going to ask her out for a date. Let me repeat, she is not a girl I'm interested in having sex with. Not now or any time in the future. I will not have sex with her in a car. I will not have sex with her in a bar. I will not have sex with her in a tree. I will not have sex with her in a lavator-ee. I will not have sex with her in a chair. I will not have sex with her anywhere." (103)

Most of his friends disapprove of this project. After all, chances are he'll just end up breaking her heart if she falls for him. But Sutter won't be dissuaded. Show of hands...how many people think he'll end up being with Aimee?

The Spectacular Now probably isn't for everyone. There is a lot of drinking. A lot of drinking and driving. Light drug use. Definite language. Definite sex. Here is a guy with little respect for himself, so he does find it difficult to respect others. As long as he can be the life of the party, the class clown, the funny guy who can make anyone and everyone smile, then it's easy for him to pretend that his life is good--spectacularly good. But these good times can't last forever, can they? What is underneath the surface of this bad guy?

It's difficult to discuss this one without giving away too much of the plot. And while some aspects of the plot are predictable, I'd hate to spoil it for anyone.

Here is what the publisher has to say:

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 …+ read moreSUTTER 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.

It is set in Oklahoma, by the way, which is refreshing. Not too many books do the whole small-town-in-OK thing.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

5 comments:

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, this Sutter Keely can't be bad if he loves our Dino...never was, never will be anyone as cool as the King of Cool...oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth...

Becky said...

I agree...mostly. I love, love, love Dean Martin. And those bits where he's singing Dino...are the best :)

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie Becky, likes so refreshin' to meets 'nother Dinoholic...checks out the ol' ilovedinomartin Dinoblog by clickin' on my Dinotag....

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