Return of the Cute Kid Sidekick: Beautiful Oblivion Chapter 10

Posted on December 2, 2014 by


Chapter 10

Today’s chapter of Beautiful Oblivion heavily features Olive, because the “cute” child character which always proves to be a well-received addition to popular franchises was definitely a good call for Jamie McGuire’s “edgy” erotica-lite romance novels. [Ariel says: McGuire quickly realized that the only flaw Beautiful/Walking Disaster had was the lack of a child character. See how she learns from her mistakes!] 

I looked down […] “Oh, hi, Olive. Sorry, I didn’t see you down there,” I said, unable to stop frowning, even for her.
“It’s okay,” she said. “Twent says I’m showt.”

Oh god, I already want this chapter to be over.



Actually, no. I’m not done yet. How does this even make sense? She isn’t small because she’s “short”, she’s a fucking toddler. Being short is like a yet-to-be-existing condition.

And you know what else? Olive is worse than your bog standard “WHAT A CUTE KID LOOK AT THE CUTE KID” irritations. You know how we keep criticizing McGuire’s Disaster/Beautiful/Maddox Brother/whatever the hell she’s calling it these days novels because every character in these books is exactly the same? How all the characters are interchangeably self-involved, manipulative, and grating (albeit unintentionally)? You know what’s really weird? When you realize Jamie McGuire even writes children like this.

“I wanted to come see you,” she said matter-of-factly. [“But Trenton] said you wouldn’t like it?”
“Yeah, so I said pweety, pweety, pwease? And he said okay.”

No, seriously. Get rid of her “adorable” speech impediment, and she’s every other “it’s funny because she’s snarky!” supporting female character.

“What are we doing, Cami?” [Trenton] asked. “What is this?”
“We’re friends! I’ve told you that already!”
Olive’s finger hovered over the top of the love seat. “You have to put a nickow in my jawr.”

[Ariel says: I know this can be a personal preference, but I really hate when authors feel the need to be super fucking phonetic as though I couldn’t possibly imagine what a child sounds like without spelling jar like “jawr.” Otherwise, I might have imagined Olive as a thirty year old woman for all we know!]

Cami refuses to let Trent manipulate her into hanging out with a child this time, which is good, but she does it by letting Olive in, forcing Trenton to stay outside, and going back to sleep. Which is less good, as our other snarky supporting lady snarkily points out to our snarky leading lady, who is snarky about it.

“That little girl is watching cartoons in our living room!” She whispered, clearly uneasy.
“I know.” […]
“Where’s Trent?”
“Outside, I think,” I said […]
“He’s sitting on the ground outside our window, playing Flappy Bird on his cell phone.”
I nodded.
“It’s thirty-three degrees outside.”
“Good,” I said, sitting up. “I wish it were sleeting.”
Raegan’s face screwed into disgust. “He waved at me like it was the most normal thing in the world. What the hell is going on?”

[Ariel says: Was Flappy Bird even out when this story is meant to take place? Just because the book was written later, doesn’t mean the timeline changed. Also, remember how hip-to-the-max-cool-yo McGuire is, guys! Her references are off da hook.]

“What the hell is going on?” actually doubles as a surprisingly on-point summary of the plot up to this point, because Cami and Trent are both in the wrong in such a myriad of ways I’m not sure what conflict or resolution to even anticipate here. Of course, that’s not important, because the only important one is whether these crazy kids will get together. Phew! For a second I was worried that it’d be a problem that I wasn’t thinking about what I was reading.

“You’re mad at me. […] Is it because I went home with that girl last night?”
I still didn’t answer.
“I didn’t bag her.”

Oh good. “Bagging” is another way that Trenton is an absolutely identical character to Travis. I was worried it wouldn’t be.

Because I feel like there isn't enough time in the day to appreciate this, Jamie McGuire's sexiest men imaginable use the same slang that 13-year-old Halo players do.

Because there just isn’t enough time in the day to appreciate this, Jamie McGuire’s sexiest men imaginable use the same slang that 13-year-old Halo players do. Ladies…

“What is your deal? You tell me five times a day that we’re friends, and now you’re jealous of some girl I flirted with for two seconds.” […]
“As your friend, I can’t be concerned about your STD status?”
“What’s an ust edie?” Olive asked

What the hell kind of speech impediment does Olive have?

Somehow this all gets resolved with a hilarious joke about how Trenton used to eat glue as a child.

“So you… didn’t go home with her?”
“Where was I going to take her? My dad’s?” […]
“You’ve done less intelligent things.”
“Like what?”
“Like eat glue!”
Trenton tucked his chin and looked away, clearly disgusted, and maybe a little bit embarrassed. “I never ate glue.”

Yeah, I bet you thought I was making that up, but no, this book is actually that irreverent.

This somehow solves all their problems (why not), Cami falling asleep on Trent’s shoulder on the couch (why not), and being woken up by Raegan and Brazil, who are cuddling on the other couch (why?).

Brazil smiled. “I didn’t know you were dating the bartender, [Trenton]. Kyle and Brad will be disappointed.”
I frowned at him. I didn’t even know who Kyle and Brad were.

Cami just experienced what it’s like reading her own story. [Ariel says: In my notes I wrote, “Join the club.” Seriously, who the fuck are these people!]

In what is amusingly somehow a recurring theme this chapter, a supporting character doesn’t understand why the plot is happening.

“Is she your baby cousin or something?” Brazil asked. “Why is she with you all the time?”

Ready for this bullshit?

Trenton shrugged. “She had an older brother. He would have been fourteen today. She worshipped him. He was hit by a car on his bike a few months before they moved next door. Olive sat next to him while he took his last breath. I’m just trying to fill the shoes.”

These are good intentions, certainly, but this feels sort of… off? It’s similar to when Stevie Rae died in House of Night and Zoey comforted her parents by saying that she was their daughter now (roughly actually what happened – remember that? [Ariel says: Actually, I think it was even weirder than that and Stevie Rae was the one who told Zoey she had to be their daughter…so I’m just thankful Olive’s brother didn’t whisper to Trent, with his dying breath, “Now you have to be her brother.” We need to be grateful that didn’t happen.]), but I think the really weird part of this is how a little girl sitting by her dying older brother is somehow supposed to be unusually touching. Like, “She loved her brother so much, she cared when he died! Anyway, good thing I can replace him.”

Brazil continues to fill the reader with faith in the unlimited capacity of human compassion.

“That’s rough, man, but… and I mean no offense… but, you’re a Maddox. […] I know you’re a good guy [footage not found], but you’re a tatted-up, whiskey-drinking, foul-mouthed hothead [Ariel says: footage completely found]. […] Why is she your responsibility?” Brazil said. “I don’t get it.”

Strange he didn’t mention anything about the sexual assault.

Just before this chapter passes with absolutely nothing notable happening, Trenton and Cami have their first, interrupted almost-kiss.

“[Olive’s] pretty great,” he said, smiling.
“You’re pretty great,” I said. […]
We stared a quiet moment, just watching each other and smiling, and then a familiar feeling came over me, a tingling in my gut, and a warmth on my lips. I focused on his mouth, and he took a step toward me. […] The toilet flushed, and we both pulled away. […] As the anticipation of what we were about to do melted away, and overwhelming awkwardness replaced it.
Olive stood in the hallway, staring at us.

anakin skywaler dafuq

They go grocery shopping, where Cami thinks about how nice it is just spending time with someone doing simple, domestic tasks together, finally ending this chapter. But before that happens, here’s the book not correctly identifying its gross misogyny again!

“You always drive.” [I said.] “I’ll drive this time.” […]
Trenton shook his head. “I… have a thing. About riding with girls.”
“Is that because of Mackenzie, or is that a sexist remark?”
“Since the accident.”

Beautiful Oblivion: where genuine tragedy somehow turns into justifiable misogyny

Question of the day: Did any of you guys do Black Friday? Got any good stories?