Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book Review: Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Book Series: Beautiful, Book #2
Author: Jamie McGuire
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Dan Bittner
Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins

My Ranking:

Finally, the highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster.

Can you love someone too much?

Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.

In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.

Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.

When I read Beautiful Disaster - in the beginning - I did not like the story. But by the time it ended, I loved it. Strange, right? I thought so. Until I realized what the problem was; it was Abby. I didn't get her. Her motivations, her feelings and I especially didn't see what she saw in Travis. Frankly, I was close to ditching the book... and then it happened. Travis got to me. Something about him, violence and all, intrigued me. Behind the rage, I saw the sweetness. Or, maybe that's going to far. Rather, I saw the potential for sweetness. So, I decided to give Walking Disaster a chance and...

Wow!!! This insane love story was absolutely amazing when told from Travis's perspective. I have to admit that I loved the story more, almost immediately, from his perspective. It felt like an entirely new; it truly was a different experience. Which, I assume, was McGuire's ultimate goal with writing this book.

With Walking Disaster, I didn't just see Travis in a new way. He made sense. All of his anger, rages and violence seems more understandable. I am not saying it was right for him to be just as aggressive in the real world as he is in the ring, but I understood what fueled his rage and how he using rage to cope with the different situations in his life. It was better for me to experience what he was experiencing when the anger took hold, instead of just hearing about Travis going off the handle from Abby. Also, I think seeing Travis interact other people besides Abby - his brothers, his father, Shepley and even America - made me understand and like him even more.

What was the most compelling was how my feelings about Abby changed after reading this book. Surprisingly, I liked her from start to finish. There was just something about seeing Abby through Travis's eyes made me connect with her. She felt sweeter, softer and more precious - almost worth his crazy, possessive and unwavering love and devotion. I really felt his growing need for her, what she represented to him and the extreme extent to which he cared for her. How his perspective and feelings towards the world at large changed as time progressed and he fell deeper for her. It was beautiful.

I think McGuire did an excellent job telling the same story from a male's perspective and making this story feel fresh. I prefer Walking Disaster to Beautiful Disaster, most definitely.

Dan Bittner's performance was stellar. I'm definitely convinced that his portrayal of Travis greatly influenced my preference of this book over the Beautiful Disaster (but I most definitely am not saying Emma Galvin did a bad job, because she's my favorite female narrator).

His quiet delivery of Travis made him more relatable - dare-I-say even down to earth? I don't know how to describe it exactly. I just felt that he understood Travis, the story and had a good understanding of how the story should be delivered. As another Travis would say (from the movie Clueless), "Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Fine holiday fun."

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