Friday, November 2, 2012

Beautiful Disaster is ANYTHING but beautiful....

Alright, so it's been forever since I wrote a post and I recently read a book that was enough to get my lazy ass to sit down and really write something on it. I wrote a bit about it on my GoodReads account because I heard the author reads the reviews so I'm interested to see if she responds.

I don't usually get aggravated with a book because most of the time, even if it's poorly written, there's still a good story trying to come out. Unfortunately with this particular book, I finished it in spite of myself (since I refuse to just STOP reading a book...when I start something, I finish it.) Now, onward to this horrific car crash of a book.

BEAUTIFUL DISASTER by Jamie McGuire is a story about a girl (Abby) that is trying to escape her past and family by going to college in some unknown small town. Her best friend (America) joins her on this journey and they live in the dorms on campus. Her best friend starts dating a boy (Shepley) and wants Abby to start going to these underground fights with her and Shep. Abby finally goes and sees town badboy (Travis) fighting in the ring and whoopin' ass. She finds him attractive and ends up getting too close to the fight and he seems to take a special interest in protecting her.
"Hey! Back up off her!" Travis frowned, shoving anyone who came near me. His stern expression melted into a smile at the sight of my shirt, and then he dabbed my face with a towel. "Sorry about that, Pigeon."
From here on, he starts referring to her as "Pigeon" or "Pidge." Now, I'm all for cutesy nicknames and I'm not quite one to judge on the type of nickname but Pigeon? Seriously? I could see if dude was English or from that side of the water but it doesn't quite work here. Pigeon has such a negative connotation in our society, it's difficult to believe that throughout this story, no one stops to ask why he's calling her that (with one exception and it's still not quite answered.) Obviously, this is just a small qualm with the book and up until now, I was pretty good with the story. I'm thinkin' seemingly semi-good girl with a past is going to fall in love with badboy and player and turn their lives around so I kept reading.

As I got further along in the book, Travis and Abby start having more and more contact with each other. We find out that Shepley and Travis are actually cousins and they live together. America spends more time at their apartment than their dorm and Abby is relatively smart in the beginning in not wanting to be just another girl on Trav's list of the conquered. Unfortunately, things change from here.

We see the slow action of Travis trying to figure out who Abby is and the author shows his interest in her pretty clearly from the start. From Travis inviting her over (even though he's not "trying to bag" her), and inviting her to get food with him to him bullying someone from their seat the following day (in a major show of possessiveness), it's clear that he's intrigued by Abby. Now Abby, on the other hand, starts out right in my mind. She's not interested and she does want to just be friends. Unfortunately, that gives way to fascination and to her being attracted to him. Their friendship kind of blossoms as they continue talking but you quickly learn that Abby isn't the strong-willed smart girl she's written to seem like in the beginning. In my honest opinion, she gets dumber by the second in this book. She makes it clear to Travis that she just wants to be friends yet when a boiler goes out in her dorm, her and America end up staying at the apartment with the boys. Oh yes, because there are no other dorms or showers on campus? :shrug Whatever with that plot hole but my point is that for someone that is so adamant about Travis not getting in her pants, she quickly says OK to sleeping in his bed with him. I get that she doesn't want to sleep on the couch because that's where he bangs his hoes (especially since the girls Travis sleeps with are almost ALWAYS referred to as hoes/whores/STD infested/etc. and Travis is rarely judged for his choosing to bring these "bimbo" girls home) but why does Abby have to STAY in the apartment. She can't sleep/live at the dorm and "borrow" a shower or two? Again, there are some major points that I keep shrugging to myself and hope that the story gets better.

Abby and Travis start spending a ton of time together (since they now live together) so everyone assumes that Abby has attained the unobtainable. She has slain the hoe-dragon! But oh ho ho, au contraire, mon ami!

This is NOT the case. Abby is adamant that her and Travis are just friends and gets frustrated when people start talking about her and Travis. While this idea I can understand, if you know that people are talking about you...either get used to it or stop doing the things that are putting your name out there. Be friends with a person but don't make that your whole life (which is exactly what she does with Travis and vice versa).

Now, for someone that is so frustrated with people thinking she's dating Travis, she's awfully cavalier about a bet involving living arrangements. At some point in this book, Travis and Abby make a bet. If during one of his fights, Travis gets hit he has to not have sex for a month. If Travis can manage to not get hit during this fight, Abby has to continue living with Travis for a month. Now in theory, this is a fabulous horrible idea. If Abby doesn't want to sex Travis up, then why the hell does it matter if he stops having sex for a month and WHY would she take a bet and risk having to stay with him for a month?  Bet or not, this is the start of a clear cut codependent relationship/friendship. Obviously, *spoiler alert*, she loses the bet and has to stay with him for a month (but only as friends but she's still sleeping in his bed).

 Seriously? Homegirl started out as a pretty smart character but the further the book goes the dumber she gets. Now, eventually her friend America starts asking questions about her and Travis and Abby is still completely against anything romantic with Travis...he hears this and brings back two girls while Abby is asleep in his bed. But it's okay since he's totally gonna bone them in the living room on the couch ('cuz that's sanitary :heebiejeebies:) after he rummages around his nightstand for a condom. So to be clear, homegirl is laying in Travis' bed listening to him romp around with two girls in his living room...because this is what every girl would do in that situation. Totally see that point. NOT. When his drunk ass falls into bed next to her, she gets up and sleeps on the recliner (because if she slept on that couch, I'm pretty sure I would've thrown my nook stopped reading right then and there.). On the plus side, her friends America and Shepley are trying to get her to pack her things and go. BUT Travis feels bad, brings a bunch of Abby's favorite food back to the apartment and practically bribes her to stick around...which she does. (Uh, abusive relationship: party of 2?! DINGDINGDING!) Oh how something terrible, buy back love...Abuse isn't always physical.

Moving on....
During her time imprisoned staying with Travis, she meets a nice guy (Parker). She decides that even though she is living with another man (as friends) that it's okay to date Parker. Totally makes sense, right?! Negative...on all levels. Anyway, she makes this decision so even though it's stupid she's at least decided to try get some attention from someone other than Trav. At which point, Travis should be saying: 
Unfortunately, and quite obviously, this is not the case. He trips out any time someone other than him gives her some attention, forces her to change clothes if he deems she looks too slutty and actually rips Parker out of the car when (stupid homegirl decides to neck in the parking lot of Trav's apartment). The entire time up to this point, the reader is painfully aware that Travis has feelings for Abby. Yet, Abby is too stupid/stubborn/ridiculous to acknowledge this and continues going out with another man. When she finally does figure it out and she chooses Travis over Parker, this already ridiculous story goes even further into insanity. She and Trav decide to get together because they were practically made for each other. Now just before they decide to officially get together, Abby even says something along the lines of "Red flags are going up all over the place here" because Travis hits some dude because he was mad at Abby. Now, this is the correct line of thinking for homegirl and she leaves. When Travis tries to call her, she ignores it until he shows up knocking at her door the next day with nothing but apologies. That's a lot of how this relationship is. He freaks the hell out because Abby does something (most of the time, it's like she's taunting him anyway) but then he comes back with roses or apologies or whatever else he can think of. During one of their extended "happy times," Travis comes back with a damn tattoo on his wrist. At this point they've been together for maybe a month or two? If that? He tattooed her damn name on his wrist after knowing each other for hardly anytime and is surprised that she questions it. Hell, during the same scene where he shows her the tattoo, he makes mention of putting a ring on her finger and this is after he's already mentioned the official moving in together thing. Seriously, if these are big, bright ass warning flags...what else can he do? Stalk her? Call her umpteen times when he knows she doesn't want to talk to him? Because I'm pretty sure he does those things too.

The worst part about all this is there are parts in the book that make it seem like Abby might be coming to her senses and figuring out that this may not be the healthiest of relationships. Then something Travis says or does changes her mind. It's so frustrating! The ending is just so convoluted and it really blows my mind that she did the things she did; including getting a tattoo of her own. Just really?! Ugh, the more I write about this book the more infuriated I become in knowing there are people that deal with these situations in the first place; and this story just makes it seem like it's all okay. I have so much more to say but I think I've said a good piece here.

I don't hate the author, and I rarely write reviews for books I don't enjoy but this one struck a nerve. Maybe I don't see the message in the story and it completely went over my head (entirely possible as I am not infallible) but please don't mistake this as an attack against the author. I didn't like the book, I've outlined my reasons above and I probably won't read this author again.

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