In Medias Res (IMR)

IMR | …Am I Reading A Modernized Emma?

I’m now reading The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp, and it was pretty slow going. Part of it is probably Sutter, who is a kid who’s afraid to grow up, and thinks he can save the world with his dreaming and drinking.

Yeah, not the best picture of the kid, but what can you do?

The story has started to pick up a little, but I am pretty confused as to what’s going on between him and Aimee.

(As a reference point, I’ve just finished the scene at the party where he kisses her on the dock.)

And while I can see them getting together, I don’t get why. I mean, it should be pretty obvious after this:

Still, she (Aimee) has a way about her that makes me want to do something for her. Not to her. For her.

But if anything, it makes me less convinced.

Sure, Sutter’s not thinking about how he wants to get Aimee into bed, and that’s a major step into a genuine relationship.

But “for” doesn’t make it better.

Sutter has what his friend calls a “messiah complex,” which means he thinks he can save everyone he encounters—and I tend to agree. Sutter thinks he knows everything in the world, and how to fix all the world’s problems, without even stopping to consider his own personal problems.

The fact that he wants to do something “for” Aimee means he doesn’t like her because she deserves something good to happen to her. It means he’s interested in her because she can be his personal project that will be his personal success story. That she will be proof that he can save anyone.

Rather ironically, this reminds me of Jane Austen’s Emma. A delusional young person who means well, but can’t get over themselves and ends up causing more havoc than help.

The only way I can see this relationship working is if Sutter can move past this idea of doing stuff for Aimee, and instead doing stuff with Aimee. And I’m not talking about the paper route. I’m talking about simply hanging out, talking. What’s better, it’d be good if he didn’t mind her doing stuff for him too.

And I think this will be Sutter’s biggest problem. He’s so ready to change everyone else’s lives for the better, but he does nothing to help himself.

The wrench in all this is that I don’t think Aimee’s forward enough to be Knightley. She might come to love him with every fibre of her being, but without that indiscriminate scolding tone of Knightley to force Sutter to reflect and to re-evaluate, I’m not sure how this is going to play out.

So is this a modernized version of Emma? We’ll have to see.

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