Title: Beautiful Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: 26th May 2011
Rating: 2/5 stars
Abby Abernathy doesn’t drink or swear and she works hard. Abby believes she has buried her dark past, but when she arrives at college, her dreams of a new beginning are quickly challenged by the university’s walking one-night stand.
Travis Maddox, sexy, built, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs – and wants – to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating night club, and his days as the notorious college Lothario.
Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his charms, Travis tricks her into his life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain celibate for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’ apartment for the same amount of time.
OR THE START OF SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL?
Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match. Or that this is the start of an obsessive, intense relationship that will lead them both into unimaginable territory…
I feel the need to justify why I awarded this book two stars immediately. Firstly, this book is so terrible that it is funny. Secondly, I got so addicted to this ridiculous couple – it was like watching a soap opera. I never thought I would want to keep reading (I honestly thought I would be forcing myself), but I developed a desperate ‘need-to-know’.
However, there are heaps of problems with this book. It was classified as erotica, which I don’t generally read, but I was still very put out when the first sex scene didn’t happen until halfway through the book! Why read erotica if the sex scenes aren’t good? In addition, in the 400 odd pages, there were only four sex scenes!!!! I was most disappointed – I thought I was reading erotica! And they weren’t even hot! First we had the scene where she loses her virginity, and then the other times were just make-up sex.
The relationship between the two main characters was not healthy. Not at all. Abby Abernathy (McGuire didn’t make it past A in the phonebook obviously….) and Travis Maddox were totally and utterly screwed up. She is the virginal good girl and he is the wicked bad boy. I like a good bad boy love story, but this got really weird really fast. Aside from the fact that she started sleeping in his bed only a few days after meeting him – because the hot water in the dorms stopped working – he got her name tattooed on his wrist after just a few weeks!
They each have sad pasts. Travis lost his mother when he was five and therefore struggles to keep girls around; he pushes them away. We learn this because Abby’s best friend, America, is conveniently dating Travis’ cousin, Shepley. And there are continuous references to Abby’s ‘dark past’ which threatens everything, but that is an anticlimax. She has a poker player for a father, who blamed her for his bad luck after her thirteenth birthday. Turns out, Abby is also amazing at poker and goes to Vegas (as an underager) to win money to get her Dad out of trouble, when he rocks up out of the blue.
Travis and Abby become completely codependent on each other. They know that it is volatile and dangerous but each gets moody and self-destructive when they stay away. The only voice of reason in the whole book is Kara, Abby’s room-mate, who is portrayed as a total bitch but is the only character to highlight how unhealthy their relationship is.
But the biggest problem with the book is that in the last chapter (skip to the next paragraph now if you don’t want to know!) Travis and Abby get married. And Abby gets ‘Mrs Maddox’ tattooed onto her wrist. Good girl gone bad. They had only just gotten back together after breaking up not once, but twice in the course of what felt like six months! What???
Also, there was a fire at one point that killed some people, but as soon as all the main characters were found to be safe and sound, that part of the plot was totally ignored…. Still very confused about the whole purpose of that part. Surely Abby could have been put in danger in some other plot device without unnecessary deaths?
That was my first foray into erotica. A strangely addictive volatile storyline with too few sex scenes. I have to read Fifty Shades of Grey for the Dymocks 101 Challenge – from what I’ve heard, I won’t have the problem of too few sex scenes with that one! Though the volatile, destructive relationship seems to be a common factor…..
Have any of you read much erotica? What do you think has made it such a popular genre? Is it unhealthy to have these kinds of relationships romanticised?