Sunday, January 27, 2013

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
My rating: 2 of 5 genies
Published: August 14, 2012
Pages: 416
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Goodreads Summary
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand. Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

My Thoughts 
(The Jersey Shore Edition)

Cover: 3/5 (it really is pretty, probably my favourite thing about this book!)
Characters: 1/5
Plot: 1.5/5
Setting: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

I wanted to get around to this after letting myself breathe a bit, mainly because, had I written this review the day I finally put down Beautiful Disaster, it would have been more of a rant than it is now. Regardless of my ranting ways, I promise to try and make this the best overall summary/critique of the reading.

Where to begin...

This is the kind of book that really makes you think. Let me properly rephrase that, this book should make many readers think, re-evaluating what women supposedly perceive as attractive/desirable characteristics and attributes in men. *Ahem* I had a problem with Travis Maddox. I'm putting it out there now, because quite frankly, "Trav" reminds me a lot of Ronnie from the Jersey Shore. Yes, the big hunk of demanding, over-controlling, boozing and womanising burning love. His relationship with Abby...let's just say, I could see the "Disaster" part just fine, but "Beautiful"? Not so much.

*Highlight to view spoiler: Since when was branding yourself for someone, in order to prove devotion, beautiful? I get that people have tattoos for reasons along this line, but somehow, McGuire really unsettled me by allowing Abby to do something like this for Travis, only to have him be so jumpy and anxious about their relationship still, i.e. the final airport scene. It felt like Abby got the tattoo more so for Travis, to prove that she was "his" even after they'd just gotten married.

It felt like a roller-coaster with these two; one minute they're together, the next they're yelling and being pissed. This is why it reminds me of Sammi and Ron, they fight ALL THE TIME and hate each other ALMOST AS OFTEN but still stay together. He isn't good for her, and she isn't the best for him, but they stay together because both want to be on Lifetime Television someday. Let me repeat, tortured, destructive love isn't love; it is something else entirely.

I just don't get Travis. He has all of this pent-up rage and aggression, but why? I thought for sure that it would be linked somehow to his dad and brothers beating on him when he was younger, but no. Trav has a decent relationship with them, and they love Abby. So why? It can't be because of his mom. I saw that McGuire tried weaselling that little excuse there, but that didn't work. She gave him this uncontrollable tempter without a reason to go with it. Travis was the bad boy I should have loved, bad attitude, tattoos every which way, abs of Adonis...And yet, it was a bit too much, his badness wasn't of the endearing sort.

He goes around flying his fists at people like some overgrown Hulk, beating up any guy that dare cross shadows with Abby, but he ends up losing his edge, and a rebel without a cause isn't much to look at. By the end, I didn't care that he was "hot" or whatever, Travis's attitude and borderline threatening nature had me running for the hills. Ladies of the universe, hear me cry: I. Will. Never. Marry. A. Travis. Maddox.


Excuse me if this isn't all that attractive:


Nope. It just wasn't there for me.

To be fair, Abby wasn't all that better, there is a reason she brought to mind Sammi Giancola. Abby is the kind of character everyone says is nice, but she does little to prove it. I can think of one incident - Thanksgiving - and that is about as sweet as she gets. I think she's a decent person, but with a penchant for giving into Travis's demands, if not totally encouraging him.

Abby: "No, Travis, your behaviour is crazy. Go away!"

Travis: "But I love you, Pidge."

The next day he's with another woman. Abby finds out.

Abby: "I hate you, Travis!"

Travis: (confused) "But I thought we were through, what's going on, Pidge? I love you!"

*Ahem* Excuse me, please, but:

It never ends.

Eesh. Just no. I had it, with the fighting and making up, then breaking up and making up. And the reason I say that Abby plays him too is because she kind of teases him along, saying one thing but meaning another.

*Highlight to view spoiler:****Losing your virginity to a guy you plan on never seeing as more than a friend makes sense, how? I thought sex and first times used to mean something.****
[Losing your virginity to a guy you plan on never seeing as more than a friend makes sense, how? I thought sex and first times used to mean something. (hide spoiler)] I couldn't see the love anywhere. Just sex, and drinking, then sex, and if I wanted that, there would be no need to read. Television covers that just fine, thanks.

I'm disappointed, mainly because I went in expecting a lot more than I got. Truthfully, the writing isn't bad, I give it to McGguire that with better material she could be a great writer, but Beautiful Disaster wasn't it. Besides its beautiful cover gorgeous butterfly, the plot was sorely lacking and side characters - U.N. officiates America and Brazil - as well as Shepley and Parker were like sprinkles of annoyance in my peripheral reading vision. Excluding America, who totally loses it on Travis, they all gave into him somehow. I guess I just don't see what the fuss is about. I've read the book, finally, because I've been dying to ever since the premise came out last year, but I came, I saw, and...meh. There isn't much to write home about.

In conclusion, there is a second book coming out, one telling the first story through Travis's eyes, and I'm interested to see what he was thinking throughout all of this. Also why the nick-name "Pidge"? It would be interesting to know, but I would have more so appreciated the added perspective had it been provided in this book; maybe I would have liked Travis more. We can dream, right? All in all, this book indeed felt like an episode of Jersey Shore, but on its better days. We have clubbing, over-drinking, loud crass behaviour, and of course, insistent arguing between couples. It makes for entertaining reading, but lacks substance. My apologies if I strayed from the aim of keeping this review rant-free, but hopefully you get the idea.

2 genies: I wanted to like this, I really did, but too much was left under-developed.
There was far more worse than good. This book could have been better.

Thanks for reading, stay Literate!


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