Atria, $15.00, ISBN 978-1-4767-1298-7
Contemporary Romance, 2013
Walking Disaster is not exactly a sequel to Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster. It’s almost exactly the same story, only this time it’s narrated by the hero, Travis Maddox. This was what Stephenie Meyer attempted to do as a follow-up to her successful Twilight series, only to have her plans ruined by jealous people who couldn’t keep a secret. Oh well.
I picked this one up because I was pleasantly surprised by Beautiful Disaster. What made that one stand out in the new adult genre was its relatively minimal misogynistic elements, as the heroine, Abby Abernathy, managed to maintain a decent relationship with other girls. Let’s be honest here, nine out of ten stories in the new adult market today are not only blatant copycats of books such as Beautiful Disaster, they are also happy excuses for people with self-loathing issues or jealousy issues to indulge in the fantasy of being better than those skinny popular girls and nabbing the jock that they lusted after but couldn’t even begin to get close to. Beautiful Disaster wasn’t like that – not entirely so, anyway.
Well, Walking Disaster sees Ms McGuire making up for lost time. Yes, it’s full-blown misogyny time, complete with female slut-shaming taking place at the same time as the story puts the male slut on a pedestal. Bitter socially awkward girls will love this book, but me, I can only cringe as I turn the pages and see Travis call the parade of women in and out of bedroom through his revolving door things like “buffet of limp vegetables, dry meat, and overripe fruits” and “her voice made dogs howl”. It’s a testament to his virility and his appeal that he sleeps with these… things… and treats them with absolute contempt the morning after, but every female with big breasts (due to silicone implants, of course) and preference for make-up is slammed.
Not that this story offers any new insight into Travis’s head. I was hoping to get to see something interesting in Travis, since the previous book was narrated exclusively by Abby, but it turns out that he’s horrifically shallow and banal. He just likes Abby, his Pigeon, because she is not like those creatures he usually sticks it into. That’s pretty much it. And Abby doesn’t have to do anything to win his affections. She just is – special, special, special – and he just does.
Walking Disaster actually damages my goodwill towards the previous book, because while that book was a pretty good fantasy of the beauty breaking and taming the beast, here, the story is revealed to be a shallow and pathetic romance on the side of the beast. You can argue that guys think like Travis, but I beg to differ. If the author wants to go for realism, Travis would have outright called his conquests things that are more in line with the “C”, “P”, and “W” words. “A buffet of limp vegetables, dry meat, and overripe fruits” is not the thought of a realistic male asshole, it’s the expression of contempt from a woman who uses her male protagonist as an excuse for readers to indulge in over 430 pages of pointless bashing of women that are more popular and more beautiful than they.
This one, simply put, is a waste of time and money for anyone who has moved on from high school social drama.