This is a chapter-by-chapter review of problematic romance novel ‘Walking Disaster’ by Jamie McGuire. Posts in the series will all be linked back to the initial post, here. ‘Walking Disaster’ is a companion novel to ‘Beautiful Disaster’, which is being snark-reviewed by the magnificent Jenny Trout.
I realised, from reading over the bit of Jenny Trout’s post that’s equivalent to Chapter Four in this book (which makes it the middle part of Chapter Two in ‘Beautiful Disaster’), that McGuire left out another scene in this book. In ‘Beautiful’, there’s a scene where, after a few weeks of tutoring from Travis, Abby gets excellent grades and Travis celebrates this by throwing her over his shoulder and running through the crowd of students shouting. I was going to comment on this because – while it’s potentially a nice scene in itself and you can see how, in the right context, it could work well to show an easy and affectionate friendship between two people – it’s completely at odds with Travis’s realisation in a previous chapter that Abby hates getting attention. Once you know that Travis knows this about Abby, that scene becomes yet another unpleasant example of him disregarding her wants.
Anyway… in ‘Walking Disaster’ that scene was left out completely. I’m never sure to what extent scenes are left out because McGuire realises on at least some level they are absolutely not going to work when seen from inside Travis’s head, and to what extent it’s that she just can’t be bothered to put them in, but on this occasion I do think it’s the latter; I just don’t think McGuire would have joined the dots in her own narrative enough to notice the problem. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t here. But it was in ‘Beautiful’, so, if retconning it out was McGuire’s intention, then she was a bit late in doing so. A better way to rescue that scene would have been to include it but to show Travis realising afterwards that it would have been embarrassing and awkward for Abby and that he shouldn’t have done it. As it is… yet another example of Travis being focused on how he wants to act at the expense of considering what Abby wants.
Oh, well. On with this one.
- Misogynistic insults (some of them recapped from Chapter One by me in order to illustrate a point; some of them new to this chapter)
- Swearing (mine)
- Slut-shaming and prude-shaming (yup; can’t win)
- Pushy, boundary-trampling behaviour
Chapter Five: Roommate