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Publisher's Summary

"So, my beautiful fat girlfriend, Cassidy, is threatening to kick me to the curb again, my best friend suddenly wants to put the brakes on our lives of fabulous fun, my mom and big sister are plotting a future in which I turn into an atomic vampire, and my dad, well, my dad is a big fat question mark that I'm not sure I want the answer to.

"Some people would let a senior year like this get them down. Not me. I'm Sutter Keely, master of the party. I'm your man when it comes to cranking the wild times. But don't mistake a midnight philosopher like me for nothing more than a shallow party boy.

"Just ask Aimee, the new girl in my life. She saw the depth of the Sutterman from that first moment when she found me passed out on the front lawn. Okay, so she's a social disaster; but that's where I come in. Isn't it my duty to show her a splendiferous time, and then let her go forth and prosper?

Y"es, life is weird, but I embrace the weird. Let everyone else go marching off into their great shining futures if they want. Me, I've always been more than content to tip my whiskey bottle and take a ride straight into the heart of the spectacular now."

©2008 Tim Tharp (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Lulled into believing he is happy in spite of his father's abandonment and his mother's emotional neglect, Sutter is an authentic character, and his unsteady sense of himself, as well as his relationships with his friends, will strike a chord with teen readers." ( Booklist)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    117
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    163
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    105
  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    21

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    204
  • 4 Stars
    108
  • 3 Stars
    59
  • 2 Stars
    8
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    11

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    95
  • 4 Stars
    134
  • 3 Stars
    104
  • 2 Stars
    32
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    25
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Wouldn't recommend to everyone but great story!

There are people in the world who have so much potential but just let everything go right down the drain. People who can’t help but make bad choices. And though they’re witty, kind, and charming – they have issues – they have problems. But they just can’t seem to help themselves. Have you ever known anyone like this? I haven’t and I think that may be why I felt both disconnected and connected with this book and with Sutter Keely. Disconnected in that I genuinely did not understand why he was doing what he was doing. And connected in that my heart ached for him – I wanted him to make the right choices for himself. I can’t recall how many times I wanted to jump into this book and scream at Sutter – tell him how he was going down the wrong path, suggest to him how to get help – that he needed help.

Addiction and substance abuse are scary – but these things real – and there are people out there battling them every day. To watch someone self-destruct is a painful and sad thing I think mostly because there is nothing you can do about it – the person is doing it to themselves. Even when loved ones and friends try to intervene, it doesn’t always work – the person doesn’t always listen. I enjoyed this book because it shows the pain and that sadness that accompany these types of situation. The Spectacular Now reminded me that these people are real and these things are happening to them. I think the saddest thing in the book is that Sutter doesn’t even realize what he’s doing to himself.

Though this book isn’t one I’d recommend to everyone, if you like books with a more serious tone to them, pick this one up.

PS – The movie trailer looks so good!

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I listened to the whole story but not sure why

The beginning of the story showed promise and was an interesting premise but it was like a movie that shows everything in the trailer. I'm not sure why this story was worthy of a novel. There was no story really.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Susanne
  • Elkins Park, PA, United States
  • 08-29-13

Not as Spectacular as I'd Hoped

If you could sum up The Spectacular Now in three words, what would they be?

Melodramatic teenage saga.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I thought that the plot was fairly flat until Sutter meets Amy. Things pick up after that, but I felt that nothing much happened along the way. The story seemed to be more about Sutter's inward emotional journey as influenced by Amy.

Which character – as performed by MacLeod Andrews – was your favorite?

I liked Sutter as voiced by Andrews the best. I think he imbued him with the perfect amount of nonchalance and devil-may-care attitude.

Any additional comments?

I took a chance on this book after hearing a review of the feature film on NPR. At first, I felt like the story was being read to me by a southern frat boy. The plot was so dry and meandering and I felt that I was going to be stuck in Sutter's head for 6+ hours. However, having recently been a teenager myself, I do remember the constant navel gazing that takes place at that age when one is trying so hard to distinguish themselves from the pack. In the end, though, the book just made me incredibly sad because Sutter is seemingly left in the dust.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lucy
  • St. Petersburg, Russia
  • 04-05-14

I would have changed the ending

Overall this was an enjoyable book. It could have (and arguably should have) been more cautionary. I found my self wondering if the author originally considered a darker ending, but then backed down for editorial or commercial reasons. I personally would have found that more satisfying. That being said the narration was excellent and I think that this is an excellent Y.A. read especially with some parental discussion to go along with it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator Makes An Alright Story Good

A good reason why I liked this audiobook as much as I did is because the narrator, MacLeod Andrews, was so wonderful. I laughed out loud so many times because of something Sutter said. I swear every time the narrator spoke for Crystal it sounded a bit like his tongue was dead weight in his mouth and he needed to swallow some spit.I just couldn't keep a straight face while listening to him; he was so entertaining! I especially thought he did a perfect vocal rendition of Sutter Keely, capturing his vibrant, awe-inspired take on life and occasionally sounding slightly slurred like a buzzed Sutter would. Sutter is a high school senior who totes a flask and constantly spikes his big 7-Up with liquor. He's the quintessential life of the party: everyone knows and likes him. Sure, he may take the fun a bit too far sometimes but, after all, it's nothing to get too hung up about. Along side of the humor in Sutter's life is a touch of sadness. Sutter's dad is absent, his mom and step-dad are uninvolved, his girlfriend just dumped him and his best friend is no longer as available as he once was. Into his life comes Aimee Finecky, a socially inept girl whom Sutter decides to help loosen up a bit. Meanwhile, she tries to get him to make some major changes in his life. Sutter is a good person and he tries to do right by Aimee but his means of doing so will leave many readers unsatisfied. We want more from Sutter. But it's OK... that's life and at the end of the book Sutter's outlook is as solid as it ever was.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • MK
  • Pittsford, NY, United States
  • 07-26-13

Just another coming-of-age story

An okay book but does not stand out from the thousands of other angst-y teen dramas written just like it. I think the movie will do a better job at standing out.

Narration is also so-so. Kind of hard to get into the feel of the book when a middle-aged-man is reading like he's a teenager.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed Feelings--modern Confederacy of Dunces

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Hmmm...I don't want to "spoil" this book, but I'd like to have seen it go somewhere else. As someone who has lived and worked with alcoholics, this is tough to listen to. Sutter is the worst kind, in that he is charming and funny and smart and clearly has many good intentions. He seems to care about other people to the degree that he can, it's just that alcohol gets in the way--big time. But it is so frustrating that he can't see this. It is a great book for al the reasons it is painful and frustrating.
The main problem I have is that this book, like drunks like Sutter, makes drunkenness and alcoholism look in many ways funny and charming. The dark comes through, but maybe not enough.

If you’ve listened to books by Tim Tharp before, how does this one compare?

First one.

Have you listened to any of MacLeod Andrews’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but I would like to hear more. Great tone and story telling. (Almost too good in a way for this book--adds to Sutter's charm even more.)

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

I gather it is. I am curious to see it, though like many first person narrations I suspect a film will lack something that the book has. I also hope that the movie doesn't romanticize substance abuse any more than the book already almost does.

Any additional comments?

I'm sure some people would not see this book as making light of/minimizing/romanticizing alcohol abuse. The reader sees consequences that Sutter either misses or minimizes. Still since we are in Sutter's mind, we are inundated by his justifications and "spin." Brilliant look through the eyes of a young alcoholic. Also sad and frustrating, and to me, too close to an (attempted) justification.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Shauna
  • ME, United States
  • 01-23-14

Enjoyed the story, but I wanted more at the end!

What did you like about this audiobook?

I liked the perspective it was written from and getting inside the head of Sutter. He was a very charming character.

What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

I thought the narrator was spot on! He was easy to listen to and got Sutter's attitude perfectly!

Do you have any additional comments?

I really enjoyed the story right up until the very end. I felt like it left me hanging and I wanted more of a conclusion, but in hindsight it probably was just right for the flow of the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Justin
  • NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA, United States
  • 01-21-14

True teen romances

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book.It's so true to teen romances because girls would often fall for these guys that don't know how good they have it and they throw it all away to protect girls or hurt them because there selfish life pursuit.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sitter in a way reflected me in away. Dating the quiet nerdy girl but longing to figure why his past is better without him.

Which scene was your favorite?

The part where Sutter is telling Aimee to swear to relieve stress and the weight of the world.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

In was like hearing my own life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

slice o' southern life

My son was assigned this book. The audio version breathed life into it and he really enjoyed it. The southern drawl of Andrews is perfectly paired with the text and subject. He is a delight to listen to. I loved the humorous and visual descriptions of people and life. The extra raw descriptions of teenage struggles was uncomfortably close to my own painful memories. I was crushed by the ending, but found it refreshing that it didn't end with a clear resolution. I mentally created my own final chapter so I could move on!