The last chapter ends with Trabby still broken up, but Shamerica getting back together. They’re all at the local bar/club when this goes down, and Abby tells Travis that they obviously can’t be friends since he won’t let anyone else dance with her. This is super important as later in this chapter Abby refers to Travis as being her best friend because continuity is for chumps. [Matthew says: Astute readers may have already inferred this from the title “Travis Beats More People Up” even though that was the “Old” Travis according to the “New” Travis who existed for about a week?]
Chapter 19: Hellerton
This chapter begins with Abby explaining that now that Shamerica is back together she has been hanging out a lot with Finch. It’s time to clarify that Finch is their gay BFF who is only mentioned every now and again and has no significance in this book whatsoever. [Matthew says: And has never been mentioned in Walking Disaster, so I’m glad I finally know who Finch is.] Also, remember that time Abby said she was going to make new friends this semester and branch out? Lol.
Now it’s time for Blando’s contractually obligated appearance! He invites Abby to dinner and a movie, but don’t worry, it’s just as friends. [Matthew says: If it was a date it would have been Chinese takeout.] This is a relief as we’re all super concerned that Blando is a threat to Trabby.
“Oh, Jesus,” Finch said. “You’re a glutton, Abby. You know that’s not going to fly with Travis when he gets wind of it.” [Matthew says: I didn’t realize Finch/Jamie McGuire meant “glutton for punishment” and I honestly thought he was just calling her fat for no particular reason.]
“You heard him. It’s not a date. And I can’t make plans based on what is okay with Travis. He didn’t clear it with me before he brought Megan home.”
“You’re never going to let that go, are you?”
“Probably not, no.”
Well, at least Abby is acknowledging that she doesn’t have to make plans based on what Travis would approve of, but why do those plans have to be with Blando? Seriously, every date we had to read about with them was just him yacking at her over Chinese food.
Oh, what do you know, this time it’s exactly the same except over pizza!
Parker updated me on his spring schedule, and talked about the progress in his studies for the MCAT. By the time the waitress served our beers, Parker had barely taken a breath.
I guess it’s hard to stop when you really get rolling on the boring. Spring schedule? God, tell me more, Parker. Do you have any morning classes or did you get a sweet afternoon sched? Give me all the deets.
Of course Travis and Shepley are there as well, and before Travis leaves he comes over and tells Abby he needs her at his fight tonight. Apparently fighting is still a thing he does even though he was meant to have changed and all that.
I looked at Parker with an apologetic smile.
“Are you serious?” he said, his eyebrows shooting up. “You’re just going to leave in the middle of dinner?”
“You can still call Brad, right?” I asked, standing up. The corners of Travis’s mouth turned up infinitesimally as he tossed a twenty on the table. “That should cover it.”
“I don’t care about the money… Abby… ”
I shrugged. “He’s my best friend, Parker. If he needs me there, I have to go.”
Really, Abby? At the end of last chapter you told him you couldn’t be friends, and nothing has happened between this and that to make your changing tune make any sense. I read this book before, but I can’t remember if this is finally the last we hear of Blando. I hope he has realized that he will only get the shaft if he dares show up in the book again.
There’s this absolutely bizarre moment on the way to the fight at the Hellerton Science Building (omggg now the chapter’s title makes so much sense and is SOO good, yo) where Travis says how good the physics lab is. Shep points out that he’s never been there, and Travis and Abby both start giggling like we’re supposed to understand the joke. I…what? Did we miss out a scene where they had sex there or something? I can’t even. [Matthew says: Is the joke supposed to be that he’s never been to the physics lab because he’s not a physics major and… that’s what’s funny? I honestly can’t figure out what else this joke could be. “I’ve never been in the humanities building!” “*snicker* What a business major. *snicker*]
Abby has an “ominous feeling” before the fight, and it’s because she can sense that the obligatory sexual assault scene has arrived. During Travis’ fight, this guy Ethan tries to rape Abby in the middle of the packed club and no one seems to notice or react. Fun fact: Ethan appeared earlier in the book. He was the guy Abby was flirting with at the bar when Travis cock-blocked and explained that Ethan had sexually assaulted someone in the past so he was helping Abby.
It’s so unclear to me why we had to see this guy return. Is it to prove that Travis really did the right thing all those chapters ago? Is it to test whether or not we’re paying attention to all the useless minor characters this book throws at us?
I remember when we first were, er, introduced the Ethan he seemed friendly enough. In this scene, though, now that the secret of his past sexual assault charges has already been revealed to us, he skips the pleasantries and goes straight to being super rapey.
He rubbed my arm, swaying and grinning. “We were rudely interrupted last time I tried to talk to you.” […]
“I always thought you’d be a nice piece of ass,” he said, breathing stale beer on my face.
I guess once your true nature is revealed to the readers, you see no reason to hide behind any false pretenses. It’s unbelievable how true to real life this book continues to be.
Travis tries to get over to Abby but he’s “pushed back into the circle.” I only point this out as usual because it comes up again later.
Abby is able to knee Ethan in the balls, and Shep finally gets to Abby and beats the shit out of Ethan. It never ceases to amaze me how often the guys in this book can get away with this. At least in this case the guy did deserve it. [Matthew say: I’m kind of glad it wasn’t Travis who beat him up. Somehow McGuire didn’t turn the obligatory female-character-almost-gets-raped scene into “but it’s a good thing HER MAN was there because MEN”. ]
After the fight, Travis finds Abby and Shep to make sure she’s okay. Here’s where this whole chapter gets weird…er:
Travis kept me tight in his arms, silently scanning the faces. A short, squat man hopped down from the ladder and froze when he noticed us standing on the sidewalk.
“You,” Travis snarled.
He let me go, running across the grass, tackling the man to the ground.
If Travis was a Pokemon, this would be his one and only attack. “Travis goes apeshit: it was super effective.”
I looked to Shepley, confused and horrified.
“That’s the guy that kept shoving Travis back in the Circle.” Shepley said.
After I read that, I had to keep going back to the fight to try to figure out what the fuck Shepley was talking about. The only thing I could come up with was that one line I pasted in above. This is just like the joke in the car I didn’t get!! And like Ethan returning! And why does Blando keep showing up? Why is this short, squat man worthy of a mad Travis attack and being left in “a bloody heap”? WHAT ARE YOU DOING, BOOK?!?!
[Matthew says: Why is more attention being paid to Travis beating up a random dude who was in his way than Shepley beating up a sexual predator? In a “good” book, this scene could be used to show what a nutcase Travis is, but we’re supposed to like Travis, so… why?]
But Travis isn’t done attacking yet. He spots Ethan hobbling around, and he goes over and goes apeshit again. It was still totally effective.
The begging was cut off with the loud thud of his skull against the windshield, and then Travis pulled him to the front of his car and shattered the headlight with Ethan’s face.
I completely feel that as poorly written as Ethan is, he’s super gross and horrible, and I was glad Shep beat him up while he was mid-assaulting Abby. But this is pretty horrific, and I don’t really understand why Abby never addresses Travis’ anger issues after this scene (or any previous ones). I don’t understand how something like this could be such a non-issue for anyone. [Matthew says: Like I said earlier, why are we supposed to like Travis?] She even says herself that she’s horrified when he starts beating up the short, squat man (sorry, I think that description is hilarious and I will type it every time I have an excuse to.)
The police show up, but Travis escapes unscathed as usual. They return to the apartment and fill America in on what happened. Her reaction is literally to turn to Abby and be like, “Baby!” Like, “Awww so sorry you almost got assaulted guuurl :(((”
Just when I thought this chapter couldn’t make any less sense Travis “reveals” that part of the reason he asked Abby to come to his fight was to show Parker she was still his. You mean to tell me that there was no ulterior motive for breaking up their friend!date? OMG WUT NO WAY! DOES TRAVIS ALSO CALL ABBY PIGEON FOR NO REASON?!?!
Abby is furious because she thought she and Travis were “back to the way we were before.” Abby…this is how you were before. I’m sorry, I’m just not seeing the difference here. He interrupted another date with Parker to ask her to go to one of his fights because he “needed” her. I’m seriously trying to figure out which of this chapter made the least amount of sense to me, but it’s like trying to decide which part of the Lost finale I hated the most. It all just makes me too angry when I think about it for too long.