Tuesday 27 November 2012

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

We've all fallen for the bad boy at one time or another.

There are quite a few similarities between the Fifty Shades trilogy and Beautiful Disaster.  Abby Abernathy is a perfect university freshman student who wears cardigans to her classes and has kept her virginity intact.  Before long, Abby is attracted to Travis, the fiercely toned, fabulously great looking and fully covered in tattoos bad boy.  Without a lot of convincing, Abby gives up her virginity to the charming, man slut.

There is a lot of violence, not in the S&M bondage type but of the boxing type.  Travis boxes in amateur, underground matches to make money to pay for his education.  This apparently is quite the turn on for Abby.  Travis is equally attracted to Abby when he sees his blood covering her cardigan.

Of course, Abby isn't as perfect as she first appears.  She has a wretched childhood growing up with an unstable and dysfunctional father and alcoholic mother.  She has run away to university to escape their grip on her both emotional and financially. 

And this is where I start to have massive problem with the story.  Abby seems to be quite sensible unless Travis is involved.  He is very controlling and whilst she appears to fight with him every time he misbehaves, she always forgives him.  She goes back to him time and time again convincing herself that they are so wrong for each other that they might be just perfect for each other.  Now, what kind of logic is that?  I'll tell you what kind of logic that is.  That is the logic that gets battered wives killed by their husbands when they don't leave or prosecute them for their violent tendencies.

If I look beyond this appalling message I still struggle to find good things about the book. 

Abby was inconsistent as a character.  First she didn't drink.  then the reader finds out that she can drink15 shots of tequila in one night without dying of alcohol poisoning.  This turns her boyfriend on.  Her first boyfriend was a preacher's son who now runs a gambling casino in Vegas.  Really?  Uh, I don't think so.  If he was thrown in to make Travis jealous again, we didn't need it.  We knew he was jealous.  Having Parker give Abby a diamond tennis bracelet after 1 week of dating is absurd.  Do you know how much those cost?  Why didn't she just sell that to pay off at least part of Mick's debt?  It appeared not to even occur to her. 

I loved the whole teenage angst of breaking up and getting back together again and again and again. I remember those days!   I loved the character of America.  Shepley could have been developed a bit more.  I didn't understand his fierce loyalty to Travis.

So here I've just rubbished the book but I still gave it three stars?  That's because the plotting is divine.  I couldn't stop reading it.  The writing is way better than Fifty Shades.  Actually, so is the sex.  There's a little bit of the Twilight series thrown in for good measure but without the vampires and werewolves.

The tattoo at the end is absurd.  Mrs. Maddox?  She couldn't come up with something better than that?

If you want more Abby and Travis you can relive the whole thing from Travis' point of view by reading Walking Disaster.  I think I'll skip it.

No comments: