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Analysis: Genre

Coming of Age

The Spectacular Now is like a coming-of-age novel that stalls out on the exit ramp to adulthood. Sutter fits the profile of a coming-of-age protagonist—a kid having to come to terms with growing up, making his way through various problems that help him realize important truths about himself and the world.

But. This particular kid ends up aborting the mission right as he's about to launch. Instead of leaving us feeling satisfied and hopeful about his future, the end of this book frustrates and depresses us—and we're betting it frustrated and depressed you, too.

The reason? Sutter deliberately chooses not to grow up. He rejects maturity, and spits in the face of adulthood. He's like a sad, drunk Peter Pan, using whiskey to fly instead of pixie dust.

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