The Spectacular Now had been on my TBR for quite some time, and I finally managed to read it — listen to the audiobook actually — and I feel like I just shouldn’t have… From beginning to end I cringed at how much of an asshole Stutter was, and honestly I still don’t know what to make of this book. Like, what the fuck did I just read.
Title: The Spectacular Now
Author: Tim Tharp
Genre: YA, Contemporary
My rating: ⭐⭐/5
I do not have the energy to sum up this book…
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 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.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Let me start by telling you that I do not want Stutter Keely anywhere near any of my parties. That’s it, I said it.
And before I delve deeper into this review, can I say how annoyed I was at the fact that the main character kept calling himself “The Stutterman”? It just felt deeply ridiculous. How am I supposed to take this book seriously, honestly I don’t know.
My expectations for this book were not that high but I still managed to feel disappointed. I felt like Stutter was an insufferable character from the beginning to the end, and didn’t feel close to any other character. I still managed to finish it but it was overall rather underwhelming. And in addition to that the novel doesn’t bring anything special compared to other similar YA novels except for the fact that the main character was an 18 year old alcoholic so yeah. The high school experience as depicted in this book also felt unrealistic with what of renting a hotel for a birthday party and such. Maybe it was just me, and maybe would I have enjoyed this book more had I read it 5 years ago, but it just didn’t work for me. I can’t believe they made a movie out of this story. I was orinitally planning on watching it as well, but let me tell you that’s not happening any time soon.
The girls portrayed, whether Cassidy or Aimee, were only seen through some king of “girlfriend potential” metric from the eyes of Stutter and it made me SO uncomfortable. Not to mention the fact that he doesn’t ever question his actions, except at the end when he decides to quit drinking and gives up after 5 days because it’s too much of a hassle. The book basically starts the way it ended: with the main character drunk and roaming the streets.
I also wanted to take a second to complain about the number of times Stutter said that Cassidy was fat. Like, we get it, he thinks it’s glorious and amazing, but maybe, just maybe there could have been other adjectives used to describe her.
And finally, I could talk about this book without mentioning how little the fact that Aimee was raped by her step-brother was addressed. Dear authors, if you’re going to have a character who is a rape survivor, take the time to address it carefully, and fully make it part of the story. It’s not some quick plot device. It felt like this could explain a lot of things about Aimee — like for example the amount of layers she wears — and yet it was barely addressed, which again, was disappointing.
Overall reaction to this book:
Feel free to try and convince me otherwise though!
Books that did it better in my opinion: The Fault in Our Stars, All the Bright Places, or even Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (which I didn’t even like that much).