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Radiant Shadows

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1) - Jamie McGuire First, some preamble. I KNOW that Beautiful Disaster is an absolutely despicable representation of what it means to be a) in love and b) in a healthy relationship. I know that Beautiful Disaster showcases every violent and controlling behaviour found in an abusive relationship, and that it romanticizes that behaviour. I also know that the way women are treated in Beautiful Disaster, as mere things that exist solely to please men, is wrong on every possible level. I know that for those reasons, and many more that many other more eloquent reviewers have pointed out, that I should have hated Beautiful Disaster; that I should be appalled and disgusted by everything it represents.Unfortunately, I seem to have developed a case of the Twilights, where regardless of every rational bone in my body, I found myself enjoying a lot of what I should have been repulsed by…Abby was one of the most emotionally confused protagonists I’ve read about in a long time – and I loved her for it. She made absolutely no sense – it was obvious that she wanted more than friendship from Travis, but she continued to reject his advances at every turn. She went so far as to date someone else – someone who was the polar opposite of Travis – to prove that she could be attracted to the “right” kind of guy. But while her behaviour was frustrating – just admit your feelings for him already! – I understood that she equated a life with Travis with the life she was trying to leave behind; a life of drinking, violence and cons. I couldn’t fault her for trying to make a better life for herself than she had grown up with.I also loved Abby and Travis together, when things we’re going well. Their playful banter, their steamy sex scenes, and the tension that rolled off of each of them in waves was thick enough to see at some points. I found myself laughing out loud during some of their more playful moments, fearful for their hearts during some of their more tender moments and slightly teary during some of their more vulnerable moments.What I couldn’t stand was Abby and Travis together, when things weren’t going so well. Travi’s controlling behaviour, demanding that Abby change clothes because he couldn’t handle knowing other guys would be looking at her and thinking about sex. Abby’s manipulation of Travis’ feelings, breaking up with him only to act hurt and above reproach when he tried to move on. BUT, these beyond-annoying frustrating moments made for the kind of read where your eyes stay glued to the pages; I couldn’t have put Beautiful Disaster down if I had wanted to, because I was just as caught up in Abby and Travis’ relationship as they were.Other than their on-again, off-again relationship, Beautiful Disaster really didn’t have much going for it in way of plot – or character – development – literally the entire book is focused on whether or not Abby and Travis would end up together. I kept waiting for Travis’ anger to push him too far, for his actions to catch up with him, and for it to cause him to see that he couldn’t just punch his way through his problems. Or for Abby to realize that as much as Travis had changed for her, he had a lot of stuff going on that she would never be able to “fix.” When I realized that neither character was actually going to learn from their experiences with the other, I couldn’t help but be angry with myself for hoping for more.Much like I enjoyed Twilight, even though I chastised Bella for being so naive to how unhealthy her obsession with Edward was, I enjoyed Beautiful Disaster even though I kept mentally reprimanding Abby for encouraging Travis’ obsessive and controlling nature. I don’t know that I’ll bother with the sequel, because what I’m really interested in now is seeing life for Abby and Travis, six months later. You know, when she’s knocked up, money’s tight and Travis has started to come home smelling like whiskey…