Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
ORDER A COPY: Beautiful Disaster: A Novel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: August 14, 2012
Paperback: 418 pages
Rating: 3 stars
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 wants—and needs—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.
Abby Abernathy has come to Eastern University get away from her parents. Her mother is a drunk and her father is a gambler and a drunk. She found a school far away from her home in Kansas and she wants to re-create herself. She doesn’t want to follow in her parents’ footsteps. She wants an education and to meet a nice boy from a stable home and become someone else.
So the last thing Abby needs in her life is a big guy with a violent temper like Travis Maddox. He fights for a living. He’s a real womanizer. He doesn’t even take them to his bedroom. He just does them quickly on the couch and sends them on their way. Abby’s relationship with Travis is different. Their–friends. She likes him. She knows deep down he is a nice guy, but she also knows a future with Travis will just lead her to heartbreak and pain. But Travis makes her smile. So why does she want to spend her time with him, rather than the nice boy who wants to be her boyfriend.
When Travis decides he wants to take his fighting professional and Abby can’t convince him of the mistake he is making, she knows that any hope she might have had for a relationship with Travis is impossible. She won’t let Travis drag her down like her father did, or let him blame her if things don’t go his way.
Why is the one man who might be so right for her, so absolutely wrong?
This book also came highly recommended to me so I grabbed an audiobook copy of both this and book 2, Walking Disaster. I cannot tell you how much I dislike these two people.
First of all, although the description tells you that Abby is a good girl who doesn’t drink, she gets drunk A LOT in this book. She does 15 shots of Tequila for her 19th birthday. (I am so stopping my daughter’s college funds.) Travis is also a heavy drinker. When Abby goes on date with Parker, Travis drinks a 5th of whiskey. When he overhears Abby tell her friend, she could never date him, he goes out, gets fall down drunk and comes back to the house and has sex with two women and can’t even remember it all right away. Travis and Abby chug beer at frat parties and do shots at every opportunity. For two people with alcoholic parents and they both hated their upbringing, you would think they would avoid alcohol and getting stick-my-face-in-a-toilet drunk, but no, Travis holds Abby’s hair back while she pukes up her 15 shots and he wakes up many times with no memory of the night before.
I thought Abby was just a bit confused, but as I started Walking Disaster and Travis says she’s “a bit of a bitch,” I realized she really is a bit of bitch. Travis is confused of her feelings for Abby. His mother died when he was three and his father crawled into a bottle until only a few years ago, he doesn’t understand love or why Abby is different to him and why he wants to be with her and will do anything just to be with her. Abby thinks being with Travis will leave her trapped in the same world she grew up and that she was running away from.
Abby and Travis’s relationship whether they are together or just friends is very volatile. There is always drama and yelling and Travis has a tendency to go into a violent rage. On more than one occasion, Abby walks out on Travis behind his back. The first time Travis finds Abby packed her things and left him, he goes into a rage and destroys everything in his house. You might think, “Oh, he loves her.” or like me, you think, if they were real people that I knew I would be avoiding them at all costs. “Oh, Travis and Abby are coming…I forgot, we’re busy.”
Abby walks out on Travis and justifies her actions to the audience, but she never discusses her whys with Travis. He is literally on his knees crying and begging her to take him back. She is crying because she loves him and wants to be with him. But instead of explaining to him what she just explained to us, and giving him one last chance not to mess it up, she walks away, and we have many, many chapters of watching them be miserable.
As one of the characters describes them to Travis, When you are together, it’s unicorns and rainbows, but when you’re not, you want to take the whole world down with you.
Although I felt some sympathy for Travis while he tried to work through these foreign feelings toward Abby, his rages and violence and her bitchy attitude turned me off. I absolutely sped through the audiobook, even listening to it while I could have been reading a book instead, but it was less enjoying these characters and more like watching an accident happen type of fascination.
I am currently listening to Walking Disaster, which is the same story told from Travis’s point of view. I am listening to it only because I purchased both at the same time so I might as well since I paid for it.
Some may say they are passionate. I just feel they are freaking annoying.
“Knock it off, Trav.” I said.
He held me tight against him until I quit struggling, and then he flicked the strap of my dress causing it to hang off my shoulder.
“Since the word virgin came out of those beautiful lips of yours, I have a sudden urge to help you out of that dress.”
“Well, that’s too bad. You were ready to kill Parker for the same thing 20 minutes ago so don’t be a hypocrite.”
“Fuck Parker. He doesn’t know you like I do.”
“Trav, come on. Let’s get your clothes off and get you in bed.”
“That’s what I’m talking about.” He chuckled.
“How much did you drink?” I asked, finally getting my footing between his legs.
“Enough.” He smiled, pulling at the hem of my dress.
“You probably surpassed enough a gallon ago.” I said, slapping his hand away. I planted my knee on the mattress beside him and pulled his shirt over his head. He reached for me again and I grabbed his wrist, sniffing at the pungent stench in the air.
“God, Trav, you reek of Jack Daniels.”
“Jim Bean.” He corrected with a drunken nod.
“Smelt like burnt wood and chemical.”
“It tastes like it too.” He laughed.
I pulled open his belt buckle and yanked it from the loops. He laughed with a jerking motion and then lifted his head to look at me.
“Better guard your virginity, Pidg. You know I like it rough.”
“Shut up.” I said, unbuttoning his jeans, slipping them down over his hips and then off his legs. I threw the denim to the floor and stood with my hands on my hips, breathing hard. His legs were hanging off the end of the bed. His eyes closed. His breathing deep and heavy. He had passed out.
I walked to the closet. Shaking my head as I rifled through our clothes. I unzipped my dress and shoved it down over my hips, letting it fall to my ankles, kicking it into the corner. I pulled my ponytail holder from my hair, shaking out my hair. The closet was bursting with his clothes and mine, and I puffed, blowing my hair from my face as I searched through the mess for a T-shirt. As I pulled one off the hanger, Travis slammed into my back, wrapping his arms around my waist.
“You scared the shit out of me.” I complained.
He ran his hands over my skin. They felt different. Slow and deliberate. I closed my eyes when he pulled me against him and buried his face in my hair, nuzzling my neck. Feeling his bare skin against mine, it took me a moment to protest.
He pulled my hair to one side and grazed his lips along my back from one shoulder to the other, unsnapping the clasp of my bra. He kissed the bare skin at the base of my neck and I closed my eyes. The warm softness of his mouth felt too good to make him stop. A quiet moan escaped from his throat. When he pressed his pelvis against mine, and I could feel how much he wanted me through his boxers, I held my breath, knowing the only thing keeping us from the big step I was so opposed to a few moments before was two thin pieces of fabric.
Travis turned me to face him and then pressed against me, leaning my back against the wall. Our eyes met and I could see the ache in his expression as he scanned the bare pieces of my skin. I had seen him peruse women before but this was different. He didn’t want to conquer me. He wanted me to say yes.
He leaned in to kiss me, stopping just an inch away. I could feel the heat from his skin radiating against my lips and I had to stop myself from drawing him in the rest of the way. His fingers were digging into my skin as he deliberated, and then his hands slid from my back to the hem of my panties. His index finger slid down my hips, in between my skin and the lacy fabric and in the same moment that he was about to slip the delicate threads down my legs, he hesitated. Just when I opened my mouth to say yes, he clenched his eyes shut.
“Not like this.” He whispered, brushing his lips across mine. “I want you, but not like this.”
He stumbled backwards, falling against the bed to his back and I stood for a moment with my arms crossed across my stomach. When his breathing evened out, I shoved my arms through the shirt I still had in my hand and yanked it over my head. Travis didn’t move and I blew out a slow breath of air.
Knowing I couldn’t restrain either of us if I crawled in bed and he woke up with a less honorable perspective, I hurried to the recliner and collapsed into it, covering my face with my hands. I felt the layers of frustration dancing and crashing into each other inside of me. Parker had left feeling slighted. Travis waited until I was seeing someone, someone I truly liked, to show an interest in me, and I seemed to be the only girl he couldn’t bring himself to sleep with. Even when he was wasted.