Friday, August 30, 2013

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

      I like fairy tales and happy endings as much as anyone, but I love real stories, because life isn’t meant to be perfect. We have happy moments, we feel sadness, we experience loss. Things aren’t black and white, we don’t always find the right answers, and sometimes the voices of our hearts get lost in the chaos of the world.
Tim Tharp brings us the story of a boy and a girl whose differences yield a magical mutual attraction. Sutter, a somewhat jaded “party boy”, has done it all; drinking, dating, and breaking rules on the regular. He has no idea that waking up after a crazy night out in the yard of his classmate, Aimee, is the beginning of the journey to seeing the beauty of innocence and dreams. Together, Sutter and Aimee discover what it’s like to fall for the “wrong” person, to question the future, to compromise, and to want something that the world doesn’t seem to want you to have.
The Spectacular Now is full of deep insight, but the humor of Sutter’s first person account keeps it entertaining and makes you feel like you’re truly in the mind of his character. Sutter definitely had me laughing out loud to myself at many points while reading this book. Aimee is so different than the typical high school girl that is cast so often in young adult literature--in my opinion, she’s better. Slightly nerdy, very socially awkward, and full of butterflies and insecurities, she allows you to recall the unique path that you took through the excitingly terrifying world of high school and growing up (side note: when are we ever The actually “grown up”? I feel like I’ll be growing up forever, because there are always new things to learn...). Yet another example of a  great character is Cassidy, a popular girl who actually cares about the welfare of humankind and doesn’t make you want to roll your eyes and put her on mute. HALLELUJAH! Did We ever think there would come a day that we wouldn’t be rooting against, but that we’d actually be cheering for the pretty popular girl? Tharp really knows how to develop his characters in a way that makes your heart feel connected to them. 
It’s hard to know what to say about this book other than to highlight that it’s a must-read for teen and adult bookworms! The movie was also recently released (Shailene Woodley plays Aimee!) and looks incredible...the challenge now is to find one of the  theaters that’s lucky enough to be showing it! 

“She's different from the girls I'm used to dating. She doesn't get tired of my stories and jokes or expect me to start reading her mind. She doesn't want me to dress better or put highlights in my hair or serious up. I'm not a lifestyle accessory to her. I'm a necessity. I'm the guy that's going to crack open her cocoon. She doesn't need to change me - she needs me to change her. At least until her little butterfly wings get strong enough to fly away.”
 ― Tim TharpThe Spectacular Now

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