The Spectacular Now – Novel by Tim Tharp
I was a little underwhelmed by this book. When I went into reading The Spectacular Now, I knew little about the story. I only knew there was a film counterpart that had debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and had done favorably well. I’m not exactly sure what my expectations were going into this story, but I just didn’t connect with it. The carefree, lush narrator Sutter Keely was a frustrating one and since the story is told from his perspective, you can’t escape him.
While I supposed having such an emotional reaction to the main character, albeit a negative one, is a good thing, I still don’t know what exactly was missing for me. The development of his and Aimee’s relationship wasn’t authentic enough for me to take seriously, although the very realistic circumstances of their lives was effective. I was waiting for Sutter’s catharsis and growth but was utterly disappointed at the ending of this novel. If there is one thing I am almost guaranteed to not enjoy, it is an ambiguous ending, and the one in The Spectacular Now was a total let down.
Although I enjoyed the storyline and felt that Tharp captured the essence of his characters in a realistic way, there was something about the story that didn’t grab me.
“The Spectacular Now” – Directed by James Ponsoldt
“The Spectacular Now” might be one of my favorite movies of the year. Unlike the novel, this movie is impeccably authentic, crazily effective, viscerally saddening, and sublimely uplifting all at the same time. I loved it.
Miles Teller is an incredible actor and I loved him as Sutter and his chemistry with Shailene Woodley is wonderful. It is always satisfying to see a cast of young actors really take the movie on and prove themselves. I felt the connection between Sutter and Aimee in this movie, where I did not in the book.
Another stroke of genius (in my opinion) was the change of ending. One of the last scenes of the movie with Sutter and his Mom (played by the awesome Jennifer Jason Leigh) is so touching and I really loved that addition to the storyline. Of course, seeing Sutter turn a new leaf and actually face his fears was something the viewers wanted, and I felt it brought closure to the story even though it was a small final scene.
Mook Rating – ★★★