Everyone Hits Travis In The Face, This Is A Good One: Walking Disaster Chapter 24

Posted on March 11, 2014 by


Hey, guys. I haven’t updated you on my life in a little while, so here’s a cool thing: I’m now officially going to South Korea to visit my girlfriend – who is doing a year abroad teaching on a Fulbright – in May. Just wanted to throw out a cheerier relationship story before we resume Travis and Abby’s awful tale of awfulness. [Ariel says: It’s always nice to start a post about the Disaster series reading about a couple that is actually happy and nice. Such a refreshing change of pace.] 

Chapter 24: Forget

[Ariel says: Well, this title is no, “The Box,” but it’s still pretty terrible.] [Matthew adds: Maybe this one’s called “forget” because he forgot the box of condoms.]

Having decided not to get back together after Thanksgiving because I guess this book needed to be just a few chapters longer, Travis tries desperately to move on. This means Travis continues to be a drama queen:

The first torturous days without Abby, I locked [my cell phone] in the glove box of the Charger.

Shepley continues to hate every second of his existence in this stupid novel:


Honestly, I'm glad Jamie McGuire realized that Travis's roommate would be aware of how awful living with Travis is.

Honestly, I’m just glad Jamie McGuire realized that Travis’s roommate would be aware of how awful living with Travis is. [Ariel says: And yet she seems to be wholly unaware of how awful living with Abby is.]

Most of the chapter is Shepley and any of Travis’s brothers (like I’m keeping track) trying to get Travis to start living his life again. Shepley and Trenton force Travis to go to the bar with them for New Year’s Eve, because it is apparently New Year’s Eve now. Also, Travis is a drama queen. Have I mentioned this yet?

I imagined myself sitting at the bar, the world celebrating  around me, ignoring the fact that I was miserable and – according to Shepley and Trenton – being a pussy.

He continues being a drama queen as he stares forlornly at the engagement ring he intended to someday give to Abby, reminding us that that was a real thing that actually happened in this book. [Ariel says: In case you need us to paint you a clearer picture, the sequence of events actually went like this: Travis tries to get Abby to date him, she refuses, Travis stalks Abby until she agrees to date him. He buys a ring. It’s the story every happy couple dreams of telling their future offspring.]

My chest rose and fell with a sigh, and then I opened the box, wincing at the sight of the sparkling diamond ring inside. There was only one finger that belonged inside that white gold circle, [Ariel says: Is it just me or did anyone else get frightened when they read that? Like it kind of reads like a serial killer who collects fingers wrote it.] and with each passing day, that dream seemed less and less possible.

Although more days have passed than the entire duration of the relationship, so… probably…

Shepley finally gets Travis to the bar, where McGuire spends about 100 words setting up a subplot where Trenton is interested in Cami, whom – through no fault of my ownBad Books, Good Times readers may know better as Baby Doll.

“Are you…?” I began.
“No,” Trent said, shaking his head. “Not yet. I’m working on it. She’s got some asshole college boy in Cali. He just needs to piss her off one last time and she’s going to figure out what a pecker head he is.”
“Good luck with that,” Shepley said

Aaaaaaaand that’s it. Cool subplot, McGuire! [Ariel says: It’s apparently so cool that she can’t help but write a whole book about it! I wonder how bad this “college boy in Cali” needs to be in order to be less of a desirable romantic lead than a member of the Maddox family.] [Matthew adds: Yeah, one of our blog readers alerted us to this but I couldn’t verify it on Google. Word on the street is Jamie McGuire might write a spin-off based on Trenton and Cami. Based on these three paragraphs of set-up between two characters who have no character even by this book’s standards, I suppose.]

The gang “intimidate[s] a small group enough for them to leave their table”, because these characters just aren’t unlikeable enough, I guess. There’s a weird scene where Trenton tries to set Travis up with his old babysitter, and it’s hard to pinpoint where exactly this scene gets the most awful. Although it might be here:

Trenton gestured to Carissa. “She just went through a bad divorce with Seth Jacobs. You remember Seth?”

“Talk about a sure thing! You wanna get in her pants or what? She’s standing right there, by the way.” (Fun fact, my fake dialogue here was so convincing that when Ariel edited this post, she tried to make it part of the last pull quote. That definitely says something about the quality of writing in Walking Disaster.)

She had double Ds and curves like a 1940s pinup model.

You just described every female character in this book, Travis.

Carissa comes onto Travis really strong, like the-fourth-sentence-she-says-to-him-is-“Maybe we could keep each other company tonight?” strong. Travis turns her down, but it is very conveniently midnight when this happens, so she tries to kiss him anyway. This upsets Travis even more (which is understandable) and he runs to the bathroom, contemplates calling Abby, Shepley confronts him about it, and he destroys his phone, “watching it shatter into a million pieces” (which is less understandable).

Trenton apologizes to Travis, as he thought he would cheer Travis up because “It always makes me feel better to bag a really hot chick”. Remember how it’s become boring to even bother criticizing the misogyny in this book? I think McGuire’s getting bored of even writing it. The writing is basic and bloated even with the characters whose misogyny has some legitimate purpose in the overall narrative (loosely describing Travis’s tale of personal growth as “narrative”… and as “growth”). This is like the “See Spot run” of misogyny.

"See hot chick."

You’re just looking to see if I made a joke from “come”, aren’t you?

The novel skips ahead to the first day of the next semester, where Travis sees Abby for the first time in weeks. Jamie McGuire captures the complicated emotions of the moment with her masterful craft of language.

She looked different, but the same.

Travis meets up with his friends (?) on the football team and tells them some of his crazy stories from over break. What the hell, Travis? Why do we only get to hear your whiny stories?

and the time that [Trenton’s] Intrepid broke down and we were almost arrested for public intoxication while walking home.

Which would have been way worse being arrested for driving under the influence.

After a few classes, Shepley tells Travis that word on the street is that Abby was also miserable all break. Is it cool with you if we skip another scene where Travis cries over Abby and talks about his Feelings? Sweet. Thanks, readers. It plays out exactly the same, with Shepley and Trenton taking Travis to a bar so alcohol and loose women can solve his problems, but this time we have a loose woman of significance! Philbert! Megan! You know, that woman from Travis’s past he mentioned once and then had a single one-page appearance three chapters ago! This is important. Pay attention.

I glanced over to Trenton, who was stifling a laugh. “Probably not a bad idea, little brother. Be safe… in every way.”

I don’t have brothers, but does anybody else find it incredibly creepy how interested the Maddox brothers are in each others’ sex lives?

Travis and Megan go back to Travis’s place, where Abby and plot puppy are waiting!

Also pictured: A more likeable character than anyone in this book.

Also pictured: A less irritating character than anyone in this book.

It’s unclear exactly why Abby was there (she was… getting something? How much do we even care? That “let’s platonically share a bed for a month” bet set the contrived circumstance bar really high.), but she gets upset and goes to leave. Travis tries to have a normal conversation with her – with the other girl she caught him making out with right there – but she’s not having any of it. This goes on for a weirdly long time before Travis realizes it’s not happening.

I grabbed her arm. “Wait. You’re mad?”


Travis continues his epiphany.

No matter what I did – moving on without her, or lying in my bed agonizing over her – she would have hated me.

Okay, on a serious note, this is fair because breakups can be awful like that, especially breakups where you still care about the other person, because while you don’t want them hung up on you, you absolutely don’t want to know about them moving on either, and it’s a terrible catch-22 of not being able to pretend the other person doesn’t exist, and that’s just the way it is even though it’s unfair. That being said, yeah, Abby will probably hate you for drunkenly hooking up with one of your former fuckbuddies in front of her. Totes unfair. [Ariel says: But he had no way of knowing she would be in HIS apartment! It wasn’t like he knew she was at the same party as him and did it to piss her off. Oh my god why am I defending Travis. Right now I hate myself more than this book hates women.] [Matthew says: That’s all true, but he still has this “No matter what I do, she’ll hate me” AFTER she happens to walk in on him hooking up with someone else. Like… yeah, Travis? That would be upsetting? Gold star?]

Travis whines tells Abby how badly he wants her and tries to kiss her (Megan is still here btw). A disgusted Abby storms out, and an enraged America – in America’s shining moment of awesome in this novel – slaps Travis in the face.

“Leave her alone, you bastard!”
Shepley grabbed America, but she pushed him away, turning to slap my face. The sound of her hand against my cheek was quick and loud, and I flinched with the noise.


Shepley tries to stop America from continuing to attack Travis, and then she turns on him, angry that Shepley is defending Travis. Shepley (entirely logically, actually) points out that Abby broke up with Travis and he’s just trying to move on, which prompts America to break up with him, because Trabby is just that important a cause, I guess. But it’s totally worth it, because then TRAVIS GETS HIT IN THE FACE AGAIN!

Shepley turned around, breathing hard.
“Shepley, I’m-”
Before I could get a word out, Shepley reared back and launched his fist into my jaw.

Holy shit, you guys! America slapped Travis and Shepley punched Travis in the face! I don’t care if this happened at the one time Travis actually wasn’t even the one in the wrong, motherfucker got punched in the face! [Ariel says: I just want to know why he didn’t get punched in the face ANY of the times he actually deserved it. Like when he accepted Benny’s ridiculous proposal. Or when he beat the shit out of one of his “friends” for making a lame comment about sleeping with Abby. THIS WAS THE ONE TIME IT MAKES NO SENSE!!!!] Regardless, one single gif cannot possibly express my pleasure with this. Travis got punched in the face. We need to relive this moment.

“Shepley, I’m-”
Before I could get a word out, Shepley reared back and launched his fist into my jaw.

anchorman group jump

“Shepley, I’m-”
Before I could get a word out, Shepley reared back and launched his fist into my jaw.

“Shepley, I’m-”
Before I could get a word out, Shepley reared back and launched his fist into my jaw.

“Shepley, I’m-”
Before I could get a word out, Shepley reared back and launched his fist into my jaw.

charlie brown peanuts dance

I’m just so happy right now. [Ariel says: Okay, I enjoyed that so much I forgot Travis was in the right this time. I wish he got punched in the face once per chapter the way Blando seems to show up once per chapter over in Beautiful Disaster.]