Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Spectacular Now: A Review

Sutter Keely embraces the now.  He also embraces a full flask and a tall 7-Up.  This story chronicles the last months of his senior year of high school.  He sorts out his friends, family, and relationships...or at least tries to.  

This is one of those books where the plot isn't as compelling as the way it is delivered. This is totally a character driven novel. Sutter is the narrator.  He talks to the reader as if he's your friend and you've known him all your life through statements like "...but you know me." The dialogue is witty and compelling, but some of the best parts are his narrative.  He's the guy who's friends with everyone and everyone wants to have around.  But as the novel progresses, you move from admiration to pity.  His now, as it turns out, isn't really all that spectacular, it's almost pathetic.  What's so great about Sutter, though, is he doesn't see it that way.  He always finds a way to make it spectacular.  And then, you move from pitying him, back to admiration.

I'm not crazy about the ending.  I don't know if I wanted more, or something different, or even if it wasn't actually perfect.  The ending, I suppose, goes along with the whole "now" theme.

The book is being adapted for a movie, which is why I read it.  My former Drama student, Miles Teller of Footloose fame, is playing the role of Sutter.  This is a great character and a great role for him.  I can't wait to see his interpretation and delivery.  I'm also interested to see how the narratives are portrayed in the movie.  I know books and movies are separate entities, but this this novel actually does lend itself to the film format because of it's short, succinct scenes and dialogue. 

I really enjoyed the writing.  It's smart, and I appreciate that.  Read it.  And then go see the movie when it comes out.

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