April 2013 by Atria Books
Amazon + Good Reads
"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."
FTC Disclaimer: This book was purchased by me and I am in no way being compensated for my review of this book.
* * * Please note that this review may contain spoilers - read at your own risk!
I am so torn on this book - I went into it with incredibly high expectations and was so excited to see Travis's side of the story that I fell in love with. And, the more time that I spend away from this story and have let Walking Disaster stew in my mind, the more I begin to like it... but after my initial reading experience? I would have rated this book a 2/5 stars at best.
I'm 95% sure that Walking Disaster was marketed as a companion novel which means (at least, to me) that it should be able to stand on its own - independently of the original text. Unfortunately, Walking Disaster read like 400 pages of solid supplemental material - imagine watching Beautiful Disaster as a movie, with Travis's running commentary (cast style) running on top of it. Yep, that's what this read like. And I suppose that its not a bad thing - after all, we all went into it knowing that we were getting the same story from a different perspective... but it felt so dependent on the original novel that I don't think that Walking Disaster could stand on its own.
One of my biggest issues with this book was that it felt as though McGuire used this novel to justify the characters and prove to readers that they weren't as shallow as they came off as in Beautiful Disaster. My biggest and best example - remember the scene from Beautiful Disaster, in which the gang attends a Halloween bar party? Abby and Travis have just publicly declared themselves as an official couple and this particular outing was one of the first times that we get to see their romantic relationship dynamic. Abby and America are approached at the bar by two random guys, who end up buying them drinks despite their protests. Thinking nothing of it, the girls accept and are about to go find their boyfriends when Travis shows up on the scene, guns blazing. Beautiful Disaster Travis is extremely pissed that some guy approached his girl, that she accepted his drink, and is an all around jealous asshole.
But is that really the case? Nope, of course not. In Walking Disaster, we're privy to the internal monologue that Travis is having as he watches this scene unfold. Is he pissed that some guy is hitting on Abby? Sure, but he's even more pissed that Abby would open herself up to the possibility of being roofied (accepting a drink that has had a drug put into it, unbeknownst to her). I couldn't help but cringe a bit and roll my eyes. I'm all for men being aware of the dangers that college aged women face (and all ages, to be honest) but is that what really got Travis pissed? Come on. Everyone who loved Beautiful Disaster fell in love with Travis as he was, warts and all. This particular character development felt forced and almost like a cop out.
Don't get me wrong, though - I did enjoy some parts of the book. I loved reliving the scenes that made me squeal the first time around... and I appreciated seeing Travis's side of the story for some of the more controversial parts (like, when he flipped out after they slept together). Walking Disaster did an amazing job of developing the secondary characters as well. We got to know Travis's family better, as well as see a different side of Shepley and America. And I loved that.
Would I recommend Walking Disaster? Meh, that depends. If you're okay with where Beautiful Disaster left off, don't bother. If you are craving more, definitely pick it up - you'll die for the prologue and epilogue. But my overall feeling about this book is just that - meh. It wasn't terrible... but it came nowhere close to Beautiful Disaster.
Have you guys read this book? Let me know what your thoughts were in the comments!
I'll see you next time,