Prof. Tharp book set for the silver screen

Jennifer Byrd

Volunteer Writer


Life is “splendiferous” for Sutter Keely, the eighteen-year-old high school protagonist in RSC Professor of English Tim Tharp’s young adult novel; “The Spectacular Now.”

The book is set in Oklahoma City with the story starting with Sutter buying breakfast for a young runaway. The guy is caring and really wants to do the right thing, but he also wants to get drunk and live in the moment. Sutter doesn’t worry about his future after graduation and he loves his 7Up spiked with Seagram’s V.O.

Tharp’s characters are deep and their struggles are real. Sutter rationalizes his alcohol consumption, ditches school regularly, and lies to his wallflower girlfriend so her feelings don’t get hurt. He also searches for his estranged father and questions why no one loves him. He is a teenager trying to find his way in a world of disconnected adults.

Sutter is the guy you want at your party, he’s the ex-boyfriend you do Italian gangster impersonations with, but most of all he’s a character you won’t soon forget. This sad tale of a young addict is side-splittingly funny, yet thought-provoking, and emotions will be in overdrive from start to finish.  In the end he must learn how to let go of the past so he can embrace his future.

Cover art for Prof. Tharp’s book, available on Amazon for $13.

Cover art for Prof. Tharp’s book, available on Amazon for $13.

Recognizing excellence

Tharp’s “The Spectacular Now” was a 2008 National Book Award Finalist. Other books written by Tharp include “The Knights of the Hill Country,” winner of the Oklahoma Book Award, and “Falling Dark,” winner of the Milkweed National Fiction Prize. Tharp is the co-chairman of the RSC Write of Spring High School Writing Workshop and is currently working on his next young adult masterpiece.


Book to movie

It’s not every day that an Oklahoma author has their book brought to life on the big screen. “The Spectacular Now” movie wrapped filming earlier this year and is set for a 2013 release. Miles Teller (Footloose 2011) is cast as Sutter Keely, with Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) playing the part of Sutter’s social outcast girlfriend. Jennifer Jason Leigh (Weeds) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) have supporting roles in the movie.

“I was able to see a couple of key scenes being filmed which made me feel that the movie was going to be very well-acted and that the tone will reflect my novel. So I think it will be a really good movie,” Tharp said.

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