Mixtape | Walking Disaster

I’m not romantic, I’m realistic. Love does not conquer all (a lot, yes, but not all) and it cannot fix anyone. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate a love story – not to be confused with the dreadful Love Story by Erich Segal, which perpetuates one of the biggest lies in literature and in Hollywood: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”.

Because love means always saying you’re sorry. And on occasion admitting you’re wrong, which is probably something I could use a lesson in…

But maybe I expect too much out of relationships, at least to look at the current climate of contemporary romance novels. I expect respect, tolerance, and commitment, though a little adoration never hurts and telling me I’m brilliant goes a long way. Travis and Abby don’t have this.

Walking Disaster features:

  • A threesome (not involving Abby)
  • An absolutely ridiculous nickname – Pigeon
  • Tearing the door of his hinges and destroying the stereo when she simply goes to school before him
  • First declaration of love is the classy ‘I fucking love you’
  • Fight at a bar that forces the woman he ‘loves’ to the ground. It’s not hitting her if it’s an inch from her face.
  • Pleading and begging
  • Tattoos of each other’s name
  • Controlling and possessive behavior, including control over what she wears
  • Taking her to a basement full of rowdy men where she’s nearly raped
  • Fighting in the Las Vegas mob’s fight circle
  • Choosing money over her (he at least went for six figures)
  • Drunken make-up sex and immediate forgiveness.

And then she marries him. I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Walking Disaster

Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire is as bad as I thought it would be. That’s not to say it isn’t readable, it’s just not something I relate to, would want to relate to, or have any interest in witnessing. Why did I read it? A mix of curiosity and masochism. It’s predecessor, Beautiful Disaster is ranked #2 on Goodreads ‘Best Romances of All Time‘ list. This means it beat out Jane Eyre, A Room With a View, Love in the Time of Cholera, and ‘insert your romance of choice here’. It falls second only to the ghastly Fifty Shades of Grey.

So in lieu of a review, I created a mixtape for Walking Disaster (just as with Beautiful Disaster). As before, these are the songs that the story reminded me of, if you want to see the real, created-by-Jamie-McGuire playlist, go here.

Homewrecked – Empires
Love Bug – Baby Bee
Bad Blood – Bastille
School Friends – Now, Now
I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You – Emiliana Torrini
It’s Not Your Fault by Awolnation
I Am the Man Who Loves You – Wilco
No Rain – Blind Melon
Stubborn Love – The Lumineers
Hello My Old Heart – The Oh Hellos
I Will Buy You a New Life – Everclear
Too Close – Alex Clare
I Would Be Sad – The Avett Brothers
Your Winter – Sister Hazel
Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine) – Bob Dylan
Something Good This Way Comes – Jakob Dylan
Fidelity – Regina Spekter
Bonus Track: Jakob Dylan – Smile When You Call Me That

Now I’m drunk and you’re insane / And I can’t quit and you won’t change / Ain’t no halfhearted Romeo / Why do you treat me so?


No food recommendation for this one. However, the four main characters ‘make a PeiWei run’. I like PeiWei, though it wreaks havoc on my meat free commitment (Sweet and Sour Chicken. Yum). I went there last night and I was given the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

15 thoughts on “Mixtape | Walking Disaster

    1. I can’t say it’s a favorite, but I read it and lived to tell the tale.

      I put in a request to review this and was declined, after having read it from the library I now consider that a compliment. My blog is too highbrow for this book 🙂


  1. I hated this series with a passion as well..I think there is something gross about the idea of wanting to be viewed as a possession and liking the idea that a guy will hit anyone who even looks at you as romantic..it’s really unhealthy I think! bleurgh..


    1. It’s incredibly unhealthy. It worries me that people think this is acceptable behavior. It’s one thing to read it and accept it as fiction, but to want to emulate a relationship like this is concerning. I was appalled that this is ranked as one of the best romances on goodreads (granted, there are many lists), but nearly two thousand people find Beautiful Disaster to be romantic. It’s about as romantic as norovirus.


      1. “It’s about as romantic as norovirus.” LOL Made me laugh..I think women in general have funny ideas about romance etc..what is the point of being with someone who doesn’t respect you or even like you just the way you are..


      2. Women do have funny ideas about romance. Case in point, this past week’s TTT: I was surprised by the number of women who really do not like Rochester. Did they read the same Jane Eyre we did?


      3. I don’t get that either..I have a lot of sympathy for Rochester and I understand why he deludes himself that is okay because they love each other and he thinks he could make her happy…him lying to her is the problem and I think Jane does the right thing by leaving him at that point..but you can’t deny by the end that he deserves her! I love him as a character but I like complex characters that are not entirely good or bad!


  2. I heard such bad things about Beautiful Disaster, and this sounds like it has a lot of the same problems – I really, really can’t stand the possessive character who is made to seem like this perfect guy, and I’ve been seeing it in a lot of YA lately. It’s quite disturbing – I teach teenage girls, and it’s worrying how this image is seen as desirable to them.


    1. It seems (to me) that people equate possessiveness with love and I agree, it really is quite disturbing. Possessive and domineering behavior are not signs of a healthy relationship and should raise red flags to anyone experiencing it. However, Beautiful Disaster has been incredibly successful and will soon be a movie, so apparently I am out of touch with what teenagers find appealing. Of course, Twilight came out when I was barely out of my teenage years and the possessive (stalkerish) tendencies didn’t appeal to me then either…


  3. They say never judge a book by its cover, but I looked at that cover and, well, I judged. Also, some kind of red flag has got to shoot up when Fiddy Shades appears in a list other than some variation on 10 reasons why humanity should go extinct.

    Torrini’s a good shout, I’d a thunk that Hold Heart would work too.

    Luckily from your review I can dismiss this out of hand, tacky cover and all.

    To try and add something substantive to your comment thread – I agree that the line between love and creepy obsession/jealous possessiveness can be pretty tight. REM’s Be Mine might be appropriate in that case…


    1. Your comment need not be substantive (as the post is not) if you mention both Emiliana Torrini and REM, which is impressive. Both suggestions would work well, as would Losing My Religion – classic obsession, wanting what you can’t have song.

      I doubt this series would annoy me as much if people didn’t love it and find the main character to be so ‘hot’. I think women (and men) should expect more than to be screamed at and told what to do/eat/wear, but I’m obviously not someone capable of defining what’s hot.

      However, I am disappointed that you find the cover to be tacky, I have a very tasteful butterfly tattoo on my bicep.


      1. Is it also coloured in with a pigment that probably contains something similar to that which gave Marie Curie cancer?

        Because that’s probably dangerous.


      2. Yes. There’s no help for me.

        No. If given the choice between sporting that tattoo on my bicep for the rest of my life and painlessly giving up a small portion of my finger or toe, I’d give up the digit. However, I do enjoy a well placed literary tattoo.


  4. I had to come back to this post and tell you that this post opened up a very good dialogue with my 15 year old stepdaughter. We were talking books at dinner last night (YAY!) and I mentioned “Walking Disaster” as you reviewed it and how awful it sounded and she pipes up “I read that book!” I was relieved she thought it was awful too and that the relationship in the book was not healthy. Thank you Rory! What a public service you are 😉


    1. I aim to please.

      Seriously though, this made my week, I’m so happy (AND I’m extra happy to hear your stepdaughter doesn’t find this type of behavior attractive).


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