"The Spectacular Now" is a YA novel, yes, but one meant for adults. For those of us, it seems, who remember having al...moreWell, this one hit close to home.
"The Spectacular Now" is a YA novel, yes, but one meant for adults. For those of us, it seems, who remember having all the possibilities of our lives open up before us like an unwritten journal.
There's a scene in the book when the 18-year-old protagonist challenges an adult: "This is our last night to be young, or did you forget how that feels?"
Many of us DO forget how that feels. Still many of us hang on to this feeling far longer than we should. Because we have so much fear of what letting go would mean: broken dreams, disappointing love, unforgivable shortcomings.
But really, this book is about finding what's most important to each of us, that "spectacular now" that means our futures are always unwritten and infinite.
I related to the protagonist, Sutter, a lot in this story. His relationship with his dad, his need to be liked by his friends while falsely not caring if they don't, and his inability to trust those who tell him they love him.
"I'd believe someone loved me -- if they did," he says. "It just seems pretty impossible to know for sure."
"That's the one-two punch right there," he continues later on, "wanting to love and wanting to be loved."
Though some of the characters were written pretty thin, I chalked that up to the fact that they were presented through the filter of Sutter's first-person POV. Still, the book explores many universal experiences in the lives of kids-not-quite-adults, ones that we've all been through.
In simple terms, I'd say it's "Catcher in the Rye" meets "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" with a bit of "Good Will Hunting" thrown in.(less)
I often find myself having difficulty connecting with female narrators. It's clearly a sign of my own limited imagination. But in the case of Tell the...moreI often find myself having difficulty connecting with female narrators. It's clearly a sign of my own limited imagination. But in the case of Tell the Wolves I'm Home, I couldn't help but feel a tie with 14-year-old June, despite having widely differing teenage lives.
I didn't grow up in Westchester in the 80s nor did I have an uncle who died of AIDS. Still, I found myself thinking back to my own teenage life and my relationship with my own parents, siblings, and uncles.
That's a testament to how well-written this book is and the reminder of how deeply bonded we feel to our own family. The one word I would use to describe this story is tender: in its style, its introspection, and its many realizations. One quotable line that stood out for me:
"It's the most unhappy people who want to stay alive, because they think they haven't done everything they want to do...They feel like they've been shortchanged."
Overall, more of a 3.5-3.75 star book. Why did I not round up? Because no 14-year-old would know what port wine is, that's why.(less)
Maybe it was the hype surrounding it. Or the promising 4.54 rating. Or the promise of a gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence. But what a disappointment.
Let's st...moreMaybe it was the hype surrounding it. Or the promising 4.54 rating. Or the promise of a gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence. But what a disappointment.
Let's start with the pros: A promising dystopian setting. A compelling protagonist thrust into a seemingly impossible scenario. A well-written and intriguing plot that didn't remind me I was reading a story for YAs.
Now the cons: NO explanation for WHY Panem was the way it was, or why the kids would actually kill each other just because the Government told them to. Awkward romance between the main characters. Unexamined morality questions. An incomplete ending (I know, I know, it's setting up the sequels). Really the list could go on and on.
This isn't to say I thought it was a bad book. It just didn't reach the lofty expectations that came with such popularity.(less)