Title: Walking Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
Series: Beautiful #2
There are 2 things I liked in this novel.
The first one is the reflection on “slutty” behaviour of Travis and the reaction of the girls he sleeps with to hit treatment afterwards. I am a firm believer in “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it” saying. Travis puts it like this “no sense in pretending to protect your dignity if you set out to destroy it.” I see this behaviour in women very often. They hook up with a known man-slut (usually on the first night) and then expect that they will be the one to change him. They know what they got themselves into, and now they cry and make a scene when in the morning the man-slut behaves like a man-slut. NO! I refuse to feel bad for those women. Being a woman myself and having some (limited) experience with man.-sluts I completely agree with Travis here. Where I live there is a large number of man-sluts and it always amazes me to see women clinging onto them, somehow managing to marry them and then being surprised that they are screwing around. I’m not saying that a man-slut can’t change, but if they don’t change, why be surprised?
This opinion might surprise/anger some of my readers, but it’s what I as a woman thing.
The second thing I liked is Hugh Jackman. I know, you must be wondering why him? Well at one point Travis and Ameirca and Shep are watching a chick flick about a woman and some old cows. At first it sounded familiar, but in the next sentence I was certain – they were watching Someone Like You. No, I as a hot blooded woman must stop here and just remind everyone that the male heart-throb of that movie is Jackman, and what a specimen he is!
I know, if I was a guy and I was blatantly salivating over a half-dressed woman’s body, there would be a bunch of women calling me sexist. Well, I invite the male readers of this to call me sexist, I welcome it.
And that is where the good stuff ends for me in this novel. While reading this at no point did I think I was reading a novel on its own, this was simply a very slight permutation on the original novel but without the good elements of Beautiful Disaster. Jamie obviously thought that since she had introduced the characters in the first installment there was no need to build her characters again. But the problem is – this is a retelling of the story from a different point of view, and we don’t really get that point of view. There is no originality in the telling of the story, the originality I was looking forward to – namely Travis’ point of view!
In addition to not building her characters, Jamie does another thing – on many occasions she skips events that were covered in the first book and which are important for the development of the story – thinking, you’ve already read those, you don’t need to read through them again. Now, wait just a moment. This entire novel is based on RETELLING what we’ve already read. We are reading this novel to see what Travis was thinking in those moments, and not giving us those moments is just not nice.
There were moments I felt like not finishing this book, my reading buddy could not finish it this time, but then I wouldn’t have been able to write a review, so I continued. And I gotta say I’m glad I read it through – the epilogue with Travis being an FBI agent and bringing down the Las Vegas mobsters, priceless.
And there’s two more things
- I am not big on telling people how to live their life (usually), but it seems to me that Travis is a bit of an alcoholic. His default solution to any problem is to drink himself into a stupor and then to drink some more.
- Travis’ jealousy and his controlling nature is a bit scary. I don’t know why women writers do this, but the recent popularity of “romantic” control freaks is worrying me a bit. Travis is so much like Grey in 50shades… who in turn is almost like that husband in Sleeping With the Enemy,..
- “Abby’s eyes penetrated the back of my head” a couple of chapters later “feeling her eyes burning a hole in the back of my head” – I just had to laugh at this.
- when the building is on fire “Motivated by pure fear, I lifted Abby from the floor with one arm and pushed her outside.” – Was this “motivation” really necessary? it just sounds redundant
- “I stomped to the bed, planted my hands on the mattress on each side of her thighs, and leaned into her face.” – this sentence is curious on an anatomical level – how long his arms are/How short is she/how acrobatic and stuff do you have to be to be able to lean from her thighs to her face. I don’t know.
As a conclusion – Authors who find themselves on the receiving end of popularity for what they’ve written should not limit themselves to only those characters. I was truly looking forward to this book because the first one was so much fun. It was new and different, the main character was funny and true to herself. Here we only got a chauvinistic and cave-mannish interpretation of what had happened. The man decided that he was in love with a girl and he just pursued her until she said yes. So, NO authors, don’t write sequels just for sequel’s sake. Write new stories, write new characters, write new universes. And if you do get the giant urge to write a sequel/alternatePOV, do what Johnny Depp does in his dream/hallucination