Understanding The Other Side

Yesterday I wrote a review for a book (not one that I posted on KO obviously) that started off with the phrase “If I don’t care about the characters, how do you expect me to care about their future?”  True…right? The fact of the matter is, regardless if the book you are reading is a romance or the latest Stephen King, if you don’t make a connection to the people you are reading about (whether it be love or disgust) you will never truly enjoy the book.  Can you appreciate the plot? Yes…of course, but when the night turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into years you will forget about the book altogether. Why? Because you never felt a connection to it.

“Beautiful Disaster” by Jamie McGuire is the polar opposite of “emotionally challenged.”

How many of you here know what co-dependancy is? According to Mr. Webster it is:  of or pertaining to a relationship in which one person is physically or psychologically addicted, as to alcohol or gambling, and the other person is psychologically dependent on the first in an unhealthy way.

Now, here is a little known fact.  At the age of 17 I became aggressively codependent, so much so that I (after a bout of serious stress, and 1 missing person) had a breakdown.  Yep, right there in the middle of my football field I turned into a bottle of mush.  I then opted to leave town for a week and disappear into oblivion.  After that I stopped going to school, refused to get out of bed, and eventually found myself in a psychologist office begging to be hypnotised into forgetting my life.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, other than the apparent need to destroy my well rehearsed “illusion of sanity” for a great review, I felt it was necessary to explain what this book is REALLY all about.

The inability to let someone go.

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend America, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand. Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the charming college co-ed. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his charms, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’ apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

First, let me start by saying that I stayed up until 4am reading this book, which…if nothing else…should tell you that I LOVED it.  This was not your normal love story.  As a matter of fact, take away everything you have ever learned about love stories and throw it out the window.

Done? Awesome.

Now, let me teach you something new. Life is not perfect.  A huge sum of us have a past that we are not proud of, parents that we would rather push off a bridge than spend a holiday with, or have zero faith in our ability to love.  We make things more difficult than they should be, we dwell on the negative, and when we finally DO find something worth holding on to, we tend to throw it away like yesterday’s trash.  Beautiful Disaster is the love story of THESE people.  The imperfect people that pretend to live perfect lives.  It is not conventional, it is extremely irritating, and at times more emotional than is necessary. BUT…all of these things are what makes it so damn good.

I cannot convey to you the emotions I felt when reading this book, If I tried, I would be lying. What I can do is tell you is this.  That regardless of your past, your current situation or the bright shiny future you have imagined for yourself…YOU will FEEL this book too.  Everyone loses things, distrusts people, and holds on to other things that may or may not be damaging.  We are human, these are human traits. What matters however is the journey we all follow when correcting our mistakes, or in this case…follow our hearts.

In short, Jamie McGuire wrote a book so intense that it can’t really be called a book at all but more a “series of lessons.”  A lesson on how to write good literature.  A lesson on evoking emotion, a lesson…in how to love the people that really need it.

“So Misty…did this book have a downside?” Yes, they all do…but sometimes it’s not about the editing errors or the occasional hop in plot, instead it’s about the pounding you feel in your chest when you read it, the tears streaming down your face at the end of a heart-wrenching chapter, or the relief you feel when you finally reach that very critical last page.

Sometimes a book just needs to be a book.

So, if you love a good cry, like to be moved by the books you read, or just love LOVE then this one is a keeper.

Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: To be truly beautiful, you must experience the disaster first.

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About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.

5 thoughts on “Understanding The Other Side

  1. At times they both frustrated the hell out of me! I kept wanting to smack them and tell them to wake the F up. I loved the supporting characters too. I think they brought a lot to the story.

    1. I agree, I think the story would have felt a little flat if it wasn’t for their best-friends. They added an “exterior” dimension to the erratic behavior of the leads.

      And…though yes, Travis is abrasive & overprotective when it comes to Abby (which some people may view as a sign of future abuse *cough other reviewers cough*) I think McGuire does a wonderful job of making his behavior conducive by explaining his past.

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