There really are two sides to every story and Jamie McGuire makes that point very well with her latest book, Walking Disaster, which tells the story of Abby Abernathy and Travis Maddox of Beautiful Disaster, this time from the first person point of view of the male half of the duo, Travis. I am going to jump right to the goods and tell you I absolutely loved this book and found it to be just as entertaining as the first, maybe even more so. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll clue you in to why I thoroughly enjoyed Walking Disaster (and its predecessor) and think you will too.
Let me start off by saying I am partial to love stories where the characters are crazy-in-love, where they take irrational risks and do things they wouldn’t normally do all because they happen to have fallen in love with someone who drives them absolutely batty. Whether I find their actions right, wrong, or indifferent isn’t really the point… although I have to say it takes a really good story for me to even consider judging a character’s actions. I have to care about a character, be really invested, for it to even matter to me if what they’re doing is right or wrong and most of the time it’s the wrong stuff that causes the drama and peaks my interest. Maybe I have some screws loose, but I think not, considering we’re still interested in reading Romeo & Juliet and the Greek Tragedies countless years after they were first written. There is something about the drama of problematic love that peaks out interest and for me, a story where the characters struggle to figure out if they’re in love, if they’re loved in return, and do all sorts of nutty things in the process will always be more interesting than your average boy meets girl tale.
Case in point Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire. The love story described in these two books is so darn interesting because the relationship between the two main characters is, as the original book’s title implies, a beautiful disaster. They fall in love, make mistakes, rip each other’s hearts out, and put them back together again. The story (told from Abby’s point of view in Beautiful Disaster and Travis’ in Walking Disaster) is character driven, it’s all about these two people, and you have to care about them and the outcome of their relationship to enjoy the books. From just a chapter or so into Beautiful Disaster I did care, but mostly because of Travis, even though Abby was the one narrating.
I found Travis Maddox so interesting in the first book because he wasn’t the typical perfect in every way can do no wrong male ideal you find in a lot of contemporary love stories. Yes, he’s attractive and smart, but it can be argued that he does a whole lot of really crummy things to subtract from those two pluses… but at least (in my opinion) he doesn’t go so far into the negative that he’s completely unlikable. There is something about him that gets under Abby’s skin and as he grew on her, he grew on me as the reader. The crazier he acted the more I wanted to know about him. I was right there with Abby perplexed and intrigued right up till the end of Beautiful Disaster and although I was satisfied with the outcome, I still wanted to know more about Travis when the book ended, probably to an extent that would make Abby jealous.
You can just imagine my first reaction when I found out McGuire was writing a companion book from Travis’ point of view, pretty much as giddy as one can get over a book, but then my next thought was- will Travis still have the same appeal once his innermost thoughts are accessible to us and the air of mystery is peeled away? After reading Walking Disaster, my answer to that question is a resounding yes, with an even more so tacked on the end.
Getting to read Travis’ thoughts in Walking Disaster made him even more likable, especially when it allowed for explanation of some of his more outlandish behavior. Learning what makes him tick made him more intriguing and I actually started to feel sympathy for him that I didn’t while reading Beautiful Disaster, where my attitude was more “What the heck did you expect to happen, Travis!” (even though I liked him as a character.) Getting to see more of his relationship with Shepley and America really humanized him, and reading his thoughts on how he truly felt about Abby kind of made me feel like when a good friend is first in love and they’re telling you how wonderful someone is, you get that secondhand happiness high just by listening to them. And him and that puppy. How can you not be attracted to a guy that’s sweet to a puppy?
That’s not to say Travis’ thoughts are all unicorns and rainbows. In fact, McGuire’s ability to believably write not only from a male perspective, but also from the gruff, matter of fact, yet somewhat sensitive point of view we would expect from Travis Maddox is truly impressive. I’m no mind reader, so I can’t say what it sounds like inside a guy like Travis’ head, but I can say that McGuire hits it right on the nail as far as my expectations of what it would sound like (the only other recent time I have been this impressed with a woman writing from a male’s perspective was author Katja Millay’s The Sea of Tranquility). I am sure there are men out there that will read Walking Disaster and say McGuire sugar-coated some of the thoughts, but as someone who blushes at the more blue language that can be found in a lot of contemporary romances and new adult books, I appreciate McGuire getting the point across without it getting too overtly explicit.
This book will definitely satisfy all of you who were wondering what Travis was doing while Abby was busy off on her own in Beautiful Disaster and I think you’ll all be pleasantly surprised at most of the stuff he gets up to. I don’t want to reveal too much of what goes on in the book since any of you who’ve already read Beautiful Disaster (you really should before picking this one up) know so much about the story itself already. I will tell you that there is an AMAZING (Yes, I meant to type that in all caps. No, I’m not sorry for yelling) epilogue that extends the story beyond the ending you know from Beautiful Disaster and sort of paves the way for the Maddox Brothers books McGuire plans to write.
If you’re a fan of crazy in love characters like I am, I think you would really enjoy Walking Disaster, but like I said be sure to read Beautiful Disaster first. If you’ve already read Beautiful Disaster and enjoyed it, there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll love Walking Disaster and everything it adds to the Abby / Travis love story.