Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Disaster  - Jamie McGuire

As long as there are people that say Travis is their dream guy and loveable and they want a man just like him, I will raise a ruckus about how dangerous this book is to our society. If people don't like it, they can kiss my lily white, bootylicious butt.

(I have no problems with anyone I linked to, but they do demonstrate the facets of society I do have a problem with, like the media that romanticizes violence/violence against women and can cause people to internalize the same toxic stuff.)

I know I said a few months back I'd never read this, but when I made the decision to poke around New Adult, there was no way to do it without reading this. Then when I abandoned that project because the genre seems to give me an abnormal number of bad books, I still had this book. I paid twelve bucks for it. Might as well read it. The best thing about it was the rainbow of NINETY-ONE page stickies I put everywhere I saw a red flag or general issue.

Travis "Mad Dog" Maddox is a murderer waiting to happen. Seriously, he is the guy that kills his spouse, any children, and possibly himself in the future. This list of warning signs for domestic abuse? Travis exhibits fifteen of those twenty-five signs. The ones he exhibits include extreme jealousy and possessiveness, moving far too quickly, and trying to control what Abby wears, just to name a few. He beats up multiple men to the point of drawing blood because they make remarks about Abby yet never gets kicked out of the school when he should be. That isn't how college works. He beats a guy into a bloody pulp for no reason, he gets kicked out.Why is this man being romanticized?

Every time I try to start detailing other issues, I end up back at Travis. He threatens, attempts to beat up, and actually beats up multiple men who try to so much as talk to Abby (some of them before they even get together). Things he does when she leaves him include: attempting to punch his own cousin, throwing his stereo across the room, trashing his apartment, shattering mirrors, kicking doors in, accusing her of making him a psycho, forcing his way into her room, kicking over their desks in a classroom, and breaking his phone. AMONG OTHER THINGS.

Also, fun facts: Before his mother married a man with the surname Manson, the infamous Charles Manson was Charles Maddox. There was also an Irish mob hit man named Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll. Just saying.

Ninety percent of the time, I feel bad for Abby. She's trapped in the cycle of abuse with Travis and she can't escape even when she sees a problem and calls it out. Other people often blame her for things she can't control, like what Travis does. Even her best friend does this! Of course, she needs a swift kick in the arse the other ten percent of the time for shaming any other woman Travis gets with and being so wishy-washy about which guy she wants. Why so many guys want her mystifies me because even after four-hundred pages, I have no idea who she is. She gets a once-mentioned lean toward being an Accounting major and that's it for her college and life aspirations.

Speaking of America and the other supporting characters, few of them have any consistency. Depending on what the novel calls for at any given time, America is either shoving Abby toward Travis when it's a terrible idea or guarding Abby from Travis like a mama cat guards her kittens from threats. Parker and Kara are the only sane people in this book because they see what's happening and how codependent the relationship is. The former is dismissed as jealous, the latter as a grouch. Everyone else--even Abby and Travis--is just that one-dimensional and lacking in description. I didn't even know Abby was blonde until someone told me. True facts.

The omnipresent woman-shaming and double standards in this novel really is astounding. if there's a girl up in Travis's business and she's not Abby, she's a bimbo, Barbie, whore, talking like a toddler, or delusional for thinking she might develop something more with Travis. Multiple times, this book met the wall because I couldn't take it much more. Somehow, I got to the end. Why does Travis having sex with everyone make him a romantic stud and women doing the same are awful, stupid girls who get ridiculed and demonized?

Honestly, there's nothing to say about the storyline. It's all about their codependent romance and the occasional other stuff that worms its way in, like problems with the Mob and a fire and their families, aren't anything at all. These characters never change either. They're as bad at the start as they are at the end and the implications of the ending... I don't want to go into them. The dog and how it tied them together even further was bad enough, but now they're practically welded together and THIS IS NOT OKAY.

I feel bad for the author despite her tendencies to harass her critics and be a general hypocrite because she truly thinks Abby and Travis's relationship isn't unhealthy; the media she grew up with never took responsibility for its negative messages, rendering her unable to take responsibility for her own messages. That won't stop me from holding her responsible for romanticizing a relationship that will most likely end in bruises, arrests, and/or death.

I am so disgusted by this book that I refuse to put up links to where people can buy it and any of the promotional things I normally do. I cannot, in all good conscience, help someone get this book. It is an abomination that should only be read to show people the signs of an unhealthy relationship in the making. I can't even with the fact that this is supposed to be genuinely romantic.