Thursday, June 7, 2012

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend America, 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 charming college co-ed. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his charms, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’ apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

“Do you know what co-dependency is, Abby? Your boyfriend is a prime example, which is creepy considering he went from having no respect for women at all to thinking he needs you to breathe.” –Kara (THANK YOU FOR BEING THE ONLY LEVEL HEADED CHARACTER, KARA!)

I’ll just start out by saying that this is in no way shape or form a positive review. I know I am going to end up using profanity in this review so if that offends you, please just stop reading now. Also, if you are one of those people who get offended or pissed off when someone else gives a book you absolutely love a bad review, scroll on past this one, because things are about to get ugly. I originally gave this book a 2 star rating, and after I wrote the review I dropped it down to 1 star. All of the issues that just disgusted me in this book were brought back into clear focus and I realized that this book does not deserve more than 1 star. I read this book because it seemed to get good reviews and I have been into a lot of self-published books lately, but Christ on a cracker…I don’t think I have ever been so upset after reading a book. Not even just upset; I was downright mad. This book should be classified as fantasy because in absolutely no reality is the kind of behavior Travis exhibits okay or acceptable.  

Let’s start at the beginning: Abby meets Travis at one of his fights where he so lovingly decides to give her the nickname, Pigeon. Yes, Pigeon; like the fucking bird. Does he even bother asking her what her actual name is? Of course not; he’s Travis Maddox for crying out loud. He doesn’t need to know a woman’s name before giving her a gross pet name. The next day, Travis reappears in the cafeteria during lunch and is followed by two blondes who have hearts in their eyes instead of pupils because Travis is just that fucking dreamy. Right. The girl sitting on his lap makes a remark to Abby’s friend and Travis’s cousin/roommate’s girlfriend, America, and instead of handling the situation like a decent man sticking up for a friend, what does he do? He just spreads his legs and lets her fall to the ground like a piece of trash. How respectful.

Skipping ahead a little, the boilers break in America and Abby’s dorm room and America insists that Abby will come with her and stay at Shep (America’s boyfriend) and Travis’s apartment. Why is it necessary to stay there? She couldn’t just go over to use the shower and go back to her dorm? Whatever. Abby finally agrees, and as they are arriving at the apartment, Travis’s latest conquest is just leaving. Now, if you didn’t see what a toolbag he was earlier with the lunchroom scene, here’s just one more example: the girl offers her phone number and Travis says no. Granted, these girls should know what they’re getting when they sleep with Travis, but regardless, it’s downright disrespectful. Abby gets upset because she wasn’t aware their apartment was a “revolving door for clueless bimbos.” OH! She also refers to the girls Travis sleeps with as STD-infested imbeciles. Isn’t it fantastic how well the women are portrayed in this book?! Now, call me crazy but if the girls are all infected with STDs, wouldn’t that mean Travis was just as susceptible to them as the women? Does Abby ever consider this or say anything about Travis being an STD-infested imbecile? Of course she doesn’t! He also mentions that Abby can sleep in his bed because he never has sex with girls in his bed; just the couch. They aren’t good enough for his bed apparently. What…a piece of crap.

Up to the night of the infamous bet: the four of them are headed out to Travis’s fight. Abby walks out in a low-cut halter top, jeans and heels, and what does Travis do? He FORCES HER TO CHANGE! They aren’t even together, and he forces her to change clothes! (Psst, Abby! That should have been a big hint that this guy is completely controlling…just sayin’!) Travis and Abby make their bet, and Abby loses; she has to stay with him for a month. Why on Earth she would agree to this bet is beyond me. Well, I think I know why; Abby is an idiot. While living with Travis, Abby starts dating Parker, a nice pre-med student she meets in one of her classes. I actually liked Parker, and was hoping Abby would wise up a little and get serious with him instead of Travis, the loose cannon. Does Travis like Abby dating Parker? Of course not! Does he behave like a mature man should in this situation? Of course not! On one of Abby and Parker’s dates, they are making out in his car and drunk Travis throws open the car door and yanks Abby out. IN WHAT WORLD IS THIS OKAY?! How in the hell does anyone justify that as acceptable behavior? He’s not only a psychopath, but he’s a stalker too. How dreamy! (I’m rolling my eyes in a comically big way right now.) Abby spills the beans that she’s a virgin, and despite him ruining her date and embarrassing her in front of Parker, she still honors the bet and stays with Travis. What does drunk Travis do next? He tries to have sex with Abby. Does Abby object? OF COURSE NOT! Are you freaking kidding me?! This guy just barged in on your date, laughed about you being a virgin, and then drunkenly groped you, and you’re excited about sleeping with him?! DISGUSTING. Oh, and when she finally does break down and sleep with him, he wakes up the next morning and notices she’s gone so he does what any rational man would do, right? He destroys the apartment, throws his stereo against the wall, takes a swing at Shep, breaks a mirror, etc. THAT’S NOT NORMAL, PEOPLE!!!

I feel like I’m on the verge of typing a 27 page review so I’m just going to start going over some of the reasons why I think Travis has severe issues and is an absolute psychopath:
1)     He tattooed “PIGEON” on his wrist, and a Hebrew scripture about “my beloved belongs to me and I to my beloved” after they had been dating for only a few weeks. Um…WHAT THE FUCK?! 
2)     He buys her a puppy for her birthday, which I can only assume was a manipulation tactic to get her to keep coming back to his apartment after the bet was over.
3)     He savagely beats up his friend in the cafeteria at school for making a comment about Abby. Oh, and Abby sucked a big one here too. She condoned it, and actually encouraged it by saying “teach him some manners.” I don’t think it’s necessary to beat someone to a pulp to teach them some manners. OH, and why is no one stopping this beating? Why does no one stand up to Travis? Because he’s a fucking hot-headed bully, that’s why. That is just such an attractive quality to have…I’m swooning over him as I type this. (Cue comically big eye roll)
4)     After they break up, he lies to his family and tells them he and Abby are still together as a ploy to get her to honor her Thanksgiving day plans with him. Abby complies (because she’s an idiot) and do they end up sleeping together while they are staying at his parent’s house? Of course they do! Once again…Abby is an idiot.
5)     He stomps onto the dance floor at his frat’s Valentine’s Day party, THROWS ABBY OVER HIS SHOULDER AND HAULS HER OUT OF THE PARTY AGAINST HER WILL! Why? Because she was dancing with guys. THEY WEREN’T EVEN TOGETHER AT THIS POINT IN THE STORY!!! I actually had to stop reading the book for a couple hours after this scene because I was just so furious. This kind of behavior is not acceptable, nor should any woman think that a man behaving like this is a turn on! Continuing on…Travis tells the DD of the party to take him and Abby to Travis’s apartment. Abby says several times she wants to go home, and does the DD listen to her? No. Why? Because Travis threatens him. Once again…BULLY. This guy is a fucking psychopath and should be seeing a shrink on a regular basis. Ohhh, but of course Abby can’t stay mad at him, so they end up having sex that night. Disgusting.

Oh, and I’d like to point out one more thing; in the description of the book it states “Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear.” Hmmm…not true. She does swear, and she absolutely does drink. Here is a direct quote from the night of her birthday party: ‘“That’s how Kansans do birthdays,” I said, popping back another shot.’ Not only that, but she mentions that her dad’s way of bonding with her was to drink with her back home in Kansas. So, at what point were we supposed to think she didn’t drink? 

Okay, for my own sanity I am going to wrap this up because I am getting all riled up again just typing this review. The type of behavior that Travis exhibits in this book shouldn’t be considered sexy; it’s possessive, controlling, psychotic, and downright disturbing. I can’t imagine any woman would find this man attractive given his qualities and it’s scary that it appears so many people really do love Travis’s character. Stalking isn’t cute. Punching any guy who even touches you because he has jealousy issues isn’t cute. Breaking a cell phone into a million little pieces because it’s the only way he won’t call you isn’t cute. IT’S PSYCHOTIC. The only characters in this book I didn’t really have a problem with were Parker and Abby’s roommate, Kara, who was portrayed as a total bitch just because she didn’t want to be involved in their god awful drama. Fuck that noise, I would have acted the same way. I can’t remember the last time a book portrayed or condoned such volatile behavior in a relationship, but it’s not okay. Nothing about this relationship is okay. This book was not a beautiful disaster; it was just a disaster. And if I hear the word pigeon or 'pidge' ONE MORE TIME, I'm going to lose it.


  1. This is the funniest review I ever read! I just finished the book and I did enjoy it, but everything you wrote is so true! My big complaint is his nickname for her. Pigeon?! Seriously, pigeon is slang for an unattractive trashy woman. It's actually very derogatory, not the kind of name you want someone to call you. Anyway, your review is spot on. Thanks for bringing me to my senses!

    1. Haha, well thanks!! I'm glad you enjoyed it; clearly I don't hold back on my reviews lol