Format: Paperback
Published by: Knopf Books
ISBN: 9780375851797
Pages: 304
Price: 399 INR

How we met: I chanced upon the enchanting trailer for the Sundance entry of last year, and eagerly waited for the movie to release worldwide. After I saw and was bamboozled by the film, I managed to get my hands on the book early this year.

TheSpectacularNowThis National Book Award Finalist was recently made into a major motion picture that received several critical acclaims worldwide. It was one of the most buzzed-about films at Sundance 2013, starring Shailene Woodley (of ‘The Fault in our stars’ fame) and Miles Teller. Wouldn’t Tim Tharp be beamingly proud! Life’s a party for Sutter Keely because he’s the life of the party. He’s the guy who has friends from every social circle, can bring up a smile every time you see him; the one who makes awkward conversations easy to bear. In actuality though, he’s the definition of happy drunk and since he’s drunk all the time, he’s just a happy guy the whole while. His character is a bit spontaneous, who believes life deserves to be lived in the moment.

At times, the novel is so genuine and feel-real that it hurts at times to read what Sutter has to go through every day. The helpless drinking- like a goldfish high on water it seems and wanting to help everyone out just because he has a big heart. In the middle of reading it, there came the issue of conflict- which side is the good one? Is Sutter to blame or is the alcohol, for whatever happens later? ‘The Spectacular Now’ has been compared to several classics, including Catcher in the Rye. While that decision is left to the reader, there is no denying there are some bloody brilliant sentences that Tharp has managed to fit in within the narrative. Drinking has been described so effortlessly, so beautifully that one wonders why one hasn’t thought about it like that before. Take this one for example:

“No, everything I do when I am drinking is about creativity, broadening my horizons. It’s actually educational. I understand my friends on a deeper level. Music reaches into me and opens me up from the inside out. Words and ideas I never know I had come flying out of me like exotic parakeets. I swell up with God’s beauty and sense of humour. The truth is, I am God’s own drunk.”

One thing I didn’t like about the book was its ending – was there even one, for God’s sake!? Despite his shortcomings, the author has successfully made a character that the readers would fall in love with and care for. While the book manages to grasp life in all its highs and lows, one wonders and cares for Sutter’s future. Would it be back to the booze and 7-Up or something much more interesting? For now though, one is satisfied enough to have had a slice of the spectacular life the God’s own drunk leads.

Rating: 8.5/10

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