Sutter Keely is all about the Life of the Buzz. From early morning until late at night, he works on keeping that buzz going.
Each of his girlfriends tire of him, he blows off academic life, and has no plans for the future. His philosophy: “To hell with tomorrow. To hell with all problems and barriers. Nothing matters but the Spectacular Now.”
Then one night, after hours of partying, he wakes up on someone’s lawn to find a girl staring down at him. It is Aimee Finecky, the nerdy girl he has never really noticed before. But there is something about her that calls to him. He feels a need to help her, to “fix” her, to show her how to have a good time.
But what happens when Aimee falls for him? Even worse, what about how he is suddenly needing her in his life? How will that work? And how will Sutter’s journey to find his absent father, ending up on a road trip with Aimee to Fort Worth, Texas, change the direction of his life?
Narrated in Sutter’s first person POV, The Spectacular Now shows us his internal world, something most people don’t notice about him. He is more than a party animal. Unlike the ordinary life most people are living in his Oklahoma City neighborhood, he has a mission. He is not looking to the future; he is determined to embrace the moment. To feel everything there is to feel…or to follow the Life of the Buzz past the middle and on.
I came to feel sorry for Sutter, and his quest for the constant buzz. I felt sad for him as he fell for Aimee; and then, even more so, when he made a decision that would change everything. The story is not so much a coming-of-age tale as it is a young man’s determination to have a different kind of life than his parents or even his friends. He is trying to carve out his own destiny. 4 stars.