Originally posted on my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
Okay. I have a lot to say about this book and I felt like after I read this book, I was letting so many other blogger's opinions of the novel get to me so I decided to close Goodreads and just write my damn review. I've always prided myself on giving honest and truthful reviews no matter what other people say/think. This book garnered A LOT of controversy and flack and I can see why but I will also sit here and defend my opinion of this novel because you know what? I freaking loved it. I loved this book.
First of all, this book reminded me of the show Intervention or Hoarders...the people on those shows are complete and utter train wrecks. Hot messes. Totally unable to understand why they do what they do. But I still watch it. Each and every time. I even ENJOY and look forward to watching these train wrecks. Why? I don't know. I just do. I'm guessing I'm not the only one either, otherwise the shows would be off the air. Anyways, Beautiful Disaster is kind of like those shows. Abby and Travis are train wrecks themselves. They have unhealthy personality traits and an unhealthy relationship. But the thing is...I've been there. I've seen it. And I've also seen it work out for the better like it does in this book. In my opinion, a lot of the "reasons" people didn't like this book so much has me scratching my head. A lot of people call Travis abusive and I straight up disagree. I've seen firsthand what an abusive relationship is, and I do not feel that Travis is abusive to Abby in the least bit. Does he have some anger/obsessive personality traits? Yes. But he doesn't hit her, he doesn't call her a bitch or a skank or verbally abuse her. He just doesn't always communicate his feelings in the most appropriate ways... and you know what? Neither do I. Neither do a lot of people. It doesn't mean they are abusive people. The other thing that has me scratching my head is that people are getting SO UPSET over Travis and Abby's relationship when I can think of a hundred other books that make me cringe with the way they portray the relationship. 50 Shade of Grey? That is NOT a healthy relationship but instead of beating it to a pulp, people are eating it up! Twilight...ugh... don't even get me started. I'd much rather have a protagonist like Abby, who is smart, witty and stands up for herself than a character like Bella Swan. But the thing people are also forgetting is that in this book, Travis and Abby's relationship DOESN'T work until they figure out who they are separately and how to fix what's broken in them. When they are able to face their own demons, the become the very best of themselves and then the relationship is able to prosper. Which I think is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Everyone always says pessimistically, "people never change," but I disagree. Sometimes, when it's with the right person and for the right reasons, people can and will change.
Okay, now that I got that part out of the way, the other reasons why I love this book.... I thought that ALL characters were fabulous and I thought they all broke down the stereotype that I initially thought they'd all be in. Abby is a "good" girl, smart, driven and yet... she has a troubled past, she's a smart ass and even she is not without temptation to the badass hotties. Travis is the tattooed fighter that has an enormous ego...yet he's smart and affectionate and has a vulnerability that is adorable. America...oh, America. She is the best friend every person should have. Loyal to a fault, protective and yet just brave enough to encourage her friend to do some stupid things. But it's in the little details that make me love America. A couple of her off-hand comments that make me feel like she and Abby have an incredibly close friendship. I even like Shepley, who reminds me so much of one of my friends. I liked the premise of the novel, though I found that to be secondary to my attachment to the characters. Was it a little unrealistic? Yeah. Did I care? Nope. I've been reading for so long that I'm the type of reader that is able to suspend belief, even in a contemporary novel, if A. I like the characters and the plot enough and B. if it was written well enough. In my opinion, McGuire did both of these things, so the unrealistic parts didn't bother me. Actually, I kind of enjoyed it because I thought it put a twist on Abby's story and made her seem that much more interesting.
One last thing. I know a lot of people were annoyed with Travis's pet name for Abby... but I loved it. I actually ADORED it. Maybe that's because in my relationship and close friendships with people, I have a rather unorthodox/silly/stupid nickname that seems ridiculous to the rest of the world but to those that are involved...it shows me how much I mean to them.
Honestly, the only thing that REALLY bothered me in this entire story is that McGuire used a lot of unnecessary dialogue attributions and she said so and so "laughed once," about a million times within the book and it annoyed the crap out of me. That was my only minor nitpick.
Overall, I loved this book. I read it in less than 8 hours and relished every moment with the cast. Obviously, just by seeing the Goodreads reviews, this book is not for everyone and honestly, I don't even know how to recommend it since so many different people seem to either love or hate it. So I guess my advice is... proceed with caution BUT don't ruin your judgement of the book by reading all the one or five star reviews. Find out for yourself. If I had followed some of my fellow bloggers instead of my own heart, I would have never picked up this book and that would have been a really sad thing.