Just as the oxymoron of the title suggests Jamie McGuire’s novel is filled with resisting temptation and seduction. A reader should never judge a book by its cover but something about a butterfly being trapped in a glass jar is inveigling.
This book has been compared to Fifty Shades of Grey but that is just a selling point marketers have used to gain people’s interest. The book actually came out last year in 2011, but due to the popularity of romance/erotic stories sparked by Fifty Shades of Grey it has been promoted this year again by Waterstones.
The book is completely different to Fifty Shades of Grey. It is definitely more realistic; no one is flying off in a helicopter across America. It’s simple and that’s the beauty of it, you can put yourself in the characters shoes. Fifty Shades of Grey is a book used for escapism while Beautiful Disaster is a book that echoes self-discovery.
The basic storyline is about a college student called Abby (to us Brits an University student) who is running away from her past, tries to become someone she is not, falls in love (but doesn’t know it) with a college boy called Travis from the wrong side of the track, tries to pursue a relationship with another boy named Parker, who is the ‘ideal’ husband, who has a wealthy family, in a fraternity, and who is on track to go to Harvard. Abby is torn between what she wants and what she thinks she needs.
The protagonist Abby is relatable as going off to University/College can be a confusing time, it’s often a time when one reinvents themselves and a time people are experimental. Jamie McGuire has definitely conveyed the confusion and idealisation of one when they leave home.
The story is written well, you get a sense that the author definitely knows what she is writing about, the book had me gripped from the beginning and I found it hard to put down (but I didn’t want to be sleep deprived).