“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.”
The Spectacular Now is an interesting read.
Sutter Keely is all about living in the moment and the moment usually involved knocking back some alcohol and enjoying the small things in life. It quickly becomes very clear that Sutter is an alcoholic and it is fascinating as the reader to watch him justify his drinking and the consequences of his actions.
He is coasting through senior year of high school, not paying attention to assignments or exams. He drinks through his classes and part time job. He loses his girlfriends in succession due to choices he makes under the influence.
But yet…Sutter is an endearing character even in his darkest moments, such as lighting in brother-in-law’s suit on fire in the closet. You root for him and you desperately want him to face the realization of what he is doing with his life: wasting it.
Eventually Sutter meets Aimee who is a straight A student, a girl who has been through emotional devastation, a person who doesn’t know how to stand up for herself and speak her truth. Sutter decides he will help her become a stronger person and thus begins their relationship, romantic and otherwise.
The Spectacular Now reads as a coming of age story and the ending is very realistic. In a way, it’s disappointing because as the reader you want…something more for Sutter. You want him to grow and walk away from his experiences a better and deeper person.
I can’t go more into detail without ruining the ending, but I do recommend this book–it’s a great coming of age story. I watched the movie before reading the novel and I view both pieces as separate works because of the minor variations. I recommend both highly.
4/5 for an easy and painless read.