Wednesday, December 5, 2001

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

Okay, yes, maybe I do drink a little bit more than a little bit too much, but don’t go getting the idea I’m an alcoholic. It’s not some big addiction. It’s just a hobby, a good, old-fashioned way to have fun. Once, I said that exact thing to this uptight church girl at school, Jennifer Jorgenson, and she goes, “I don’t have to drink alcohol to have fun.” So I’m like, “I don’t have to ride a roller coaster to have fun either, but I do” (p 18).

I thought I was going to hate this book. I wanted to hate its narrator, Sutter, but I ended up not hating him. His logic is alternately crazy/reckless (see above quote) and insightful/reserved…

I walk over and have a closer look at the drawings. Actually, her horses look more like dogs, but there’s no need to mention that. I’m pretty sure, for her, drawing them is a lot more important than what they end up looking like (110).

He takes no shame in his behaviour. He knows what he can get away with and more importantly, he knows why; his parents don’t take the time to care…

“I’m sorry,” I say. “I’ll try to make it up to you.” And I am sorry about making her call my friends and the hospitals and all, but I know my mom. Trust in me isn’t real high on her list of priorities. A good trip to the beauty shop next week and she’ll forget all about it” (p 82).

Ricky is Sutter’s best friend and fellow pot head/lush. The two have lengthy discussions, partake in dangerous stunts and act as comic relief at school. They are funny and you  might find it easy to forget they are constantly buzzed or high. Or you might find it easy to forgive them for it. Sutter has that effect.

I would recommend this to kids who enjoyed Exploits of a Reluctant but Extremely Good-Looking Hero (though I might wait until the child is in high school).