No One Important Dies In The Fire, Therefore True Love: Walking Disaster Chapter 27

This week in “blog readers actually send me pictures of pigeons because of this stupid book”:

Speaking of Abby and dangerous things, everyone is currently trapped in a burning building. [Ariel says: I’ve been feeling down all day, but the thought of evil lanterns still manages to make me laugh. Seriously. These fucking lanterns, man.] 

Chapter 27

In the book’s lone example of showing that Travis loves Abby instead of simply telling us and hoping we take its word for it, Travis runs back into the burning building to find Abby.

I leaned down and grabbed my knees, panting. My sense of direction was weakened, both by the darkness, and the real possibility of not being able to find my girlfriend or brother before it was too late. I wasn’t even sure if I could find my own way out.

Oh, and his brother too, I guess. One of them is in there. Travis sure has a lot of interchangeable brothers!

Travis hears Abby’s screams and runs to that room.

My hands touched a wall, and then I stopped when I felt a door. It was locked.

Why would Abby lock herself in a room in a burning building? I realize this scene was only written to create tension and/or an excuse to have Travis kick down a door in a burning building, but this doesn’t make sense. I guess it’s possible it’s a door that locked behind her, but this building is so old that they had to use lanterns because there weren’t any lights. In the basement. Wow, who designed this building? [Ariel says: Why wasn’t the school more vigilant about preventing Fight Clubs from taking place here? This is America; they should get sued for their negligence.] 

Travis gets to Abby and break a window to escape the building, because I guess we needed to resolve this cliffhanger in the first two pages of the chapter. Travis and Abby wait outside as police and firefighters arrive, pulling other survivors out of the burning building, hoping desperately that Trent is one of them.

Half an hour later, the bodies they returned with were lifeless. Instead of performing CPR, they simply laid them next to the other victims and covered their bodies. The ground was lined with casualties, far outnumbering those of us that had escaped.

Holy shit, Jamie McGuire is going for a J.K. Rowling-like death toll! In her college romance novel. I wonder how long it’s going to take for this to get tonally awkward.

Like this, but in narrative form.
To emphasize that I wrote “tonally awkward” and not “totally awkward”.

Travis wants to call their dad to tell him what happened, but Abby tells him to wait since they don’t know yet. This happens a couple of times, because I guess either a) Jame McGuire really doesn’t know how to sustain tension without writing the same thing over and over again, or b) Travis just really wants to jump the gun on this whole “telling his dad that his brother is dead” thing. Because obviously Trent isn’t dead (just dozens of unnamed college students! PHEW.), [Ariel says: Do you think any of them were Students Without Netflix? I’m getting really worked up about this], which McGuire reveals in the most confusing way possible:

My breath caught as I punched in the numbers, imagining my father’s reaction […] The numbers turned into a name, and my eyes widened. I was getting a call.

This is what your high school lit teacher would call “flowery language”. This would be like if the last chapter ended with “The white sheets turned into fire. The sheets had caught fire.” or “Abby turned into empty space. She moved.” This also raises the question of why Travis has his brother’s number entered into his phone, but not his father’s.

“Are you okay?” Trent yelled in my ear, his voice thick with panic. […]
“Where are you?” I asked, desperate to find him.
“I’m at Morgan Hall, you dumb fuck! Where you told me to meet you! Why aren’t you here?”

Hahahaha what a wacky misunderstanding! Too bad all those people are dead.

After Travis and Trent reunite, Travis and Abby go back to the apartment, where Abby thanks him for saving her life. They solemnly discuss the night’s tragic events:

“A lot of people died tonight,” I said.”
“I know.”
“We won’t find out until tomorrow just how many.”
“Trent and I passed a group of kids on the way out. I wonder if they made it. They looked so scared…”

Uncomfortable shift in tone from serious to disrespectfully lighthearted in five… four…

“It’s official. Bimbos, fights, leaving, Parker, Vegas… even fires… our relationship can withstand anything.” […]
“Vegas?”she asked. […] “Have you thought about going back? […] What if we just went for a night?”
I glanced around the dark room, confused. “A night?”
“Marry me,” she blurted out.

lol remember all those college kids who just died?

Travis thinks Abby’s kidding, but she maintains she’s serious. He calls American Airlines to call her bluff, because I guess this book takes place in the 90s, and buys two tickets and realizes Abby is really being serious. In a chapter full of awkward segues, I wonder how bad the transition will be from “Abby was the one who proposed lol irony” to “Travis bought an engagement ring already”:

She hugged me, tensing her shoulders as she squeezed. “Travis and Abby Maddox. Has a nice ring to it.”
“Ring?” I said, frowning.

Wow, that was easy.

“Don’t freak out,” I said. “I kind of… already took care of that part.”

She already sprung getting married tomorrow on you. I think you kids might be past that point.

As you can imagine, there’s a lot of vomit-worthy dialogue in this scene. Of course, you don’t actually want to read all of it (that’s my awful, awful job), so here’s the best/creepiest-sounding one:

“I just happened to see it one day, and I knew there was only one place it could belong… on your perfect little finger.”

Anyway, you might remember that this chapter began with dozens of college students dying in a fire. Travis and Abby remember this too!

If there was a way to focus on something other than the horror of that night, we’d managed it.

I’m sure the parents of all those dead kids will be quite touched.



  1. Madeline Reply

    Let’s just all collectively agree not to talk about the himym finale, kay? Kay.

    Abby and Travis: People died. Lol what is empathy.

    Seriously, these two are so self absorbed and awful that they deserve each other.

  2. Bellomy Reply

    So, we know the book is shit, let’s discuss the HIMYM finale. It had some funny moments but was ultimately a narrative disaster.

    It’s remarkable how brutally and efficiently HIMYM threw out all nine seasons of Barney’s character development in the span of 30 minutes, then decided that twenty was enough to gain all of it back.

    Masterful storytelling, guys.

    Also, I predicted:

    1) Barney and Robin would get divorced (I KNEW I KNEW IT I KNEW IT)

    2) The Mother was dead (lol, everybody knew that one)

    3) Ted would end up with Robin, because marrying your best friend’s ex-wife who tried to run off with you at the wedding doesn’t make you a dick at all. But, called it.

    Basically, it was bad.

    I also have absolutely no idea what message the show is trying to send. Is it imparting traditional values in the face of an ever-changing world or is it trying to send a progressive, “No, it’s cool, it’s your life, live it!” type of thing?

    I feel like they’re trying to have their cake and eat it too in that regard and it feels awkward. Ted and Tracy marry but only after they have kids, but hey that’s okay, they’re modern and it’s their choice! Barney and Robin divorce, and it’s totally cool because they were honest, but it causes Barney to regress into a man-child and Robin to become alone and miserable.

    So what message are you trying to impart, HIMYM? You’re going to piss somebody off, just pick a side.

    Just not good. Though Marshall’s lines were pretty good. It started off with a ton of promise, too!

    • Madeline Reply

      Robin got the shaft. Barney resorts back to season 1 behavior after they get divorced (when the entire final season was their wedding) and is only “truly reformed” when he has a daughter? Apart from the fact that that is the most boring redemption ever, he is only good after getting the one thing Robin could never give them in their relationship: a child. That is fuckery. That is bullshit. End rant. Done talking about it now.

      • malcolmthecynic Reply

        Oh MAN, yes. I never liked her, I always found her bitchy, but she got married knowing the toll traveling would take and then chose traveling and her career over the marriage.

        That, of course, is absolutely fine, but maybe you SHOULDN’T HAVE GOTTEN MARRIED THEN, huh, Robin?

      • Madeline Reply

        It doesn’t make Robin bitchy to want love and success. She had every right to get married and focus on her career, it just didn’t work out.

      • Ali Reply

        It doesn’t make her bitchy to want love and success. But it does make her selfish when she’s not willing to give even one iota of compromise so her husband can be happy as well. Being in a relationship means you care about the other person’s happiness. Robin only cares about the other person’s happiness as long as it coincides with her own.
        They made Tracey a footnote in Ted’s life, when she (not Robin) was the LOVE OF HIS LIFE. They showed one shot of her getting sick, and nothing on him grieving for her. Seriously. You should check out HIMYM FB page, the fans are PISSED

      • Madeline Reply

        Oh I am the maddest about Tracey. All this lead up (9 SEASONS?!?!) to this one, perfect character and she dies in a span 5 seconds. And after all the characterization in this 9th season, I honestly think she might have been too good for Ted.

  3. Dana Reply

    Wow. I’m so glad a bunch of people violently died just so Travis and Abby’s love could be validated for the billionth time. And you just know the Students (and Staff?) Without Netflix will surely be talking about their Vegas marriage rather than the dead kids.

    “It’s official. Bimbos, fights, leaving, Parker, Vegas… even fires… our relationship can withstand anything.”

    Parker (i.e. Blando) being thrown in the middle of all that just reminded me of this dear little trope:

    Except, you know, it wasn’t supposed to be a comedic moment.

    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      “And you just know the Students (and Staff?) Without Netflix will surely be talking about their Vegas marriage rather than the dead kids.”


  4. Kate Reply

    Okay, so I realize that the fire that just murdered dozens of students was an accident, but… I’m pretty fucking sure their parents aren’t all just going to be like, “ehh, what can you do.” They would expect someone to be held responsible, especially since the whole fire happened in the midst of a hella illegal underground Fight Club match. That’s the type of shit that gets deans fired and universities sued on a massive scale, unless there’s a core group of people who can be reasonably blamed for the incident… like, say, the fighters and their handlers.
    Seeing as how Travis is a gigantic douchebag, I’m betting that most of his classmates would be pretty quick to point campus security in his direction. I don’t imagine that running away to Vegas (where he recently received an offer to become a professional fighter for a mobster) to get married to his girlfriend (who now cannot be compelled to testify against him, should he ever be tried for his part in the death of dozens of people) in the honest-to-god MINUTES after this tragedy will help his case at all.
    Whoops, there I go again, trying to put some actual logic into this story.

  5. Annie Reply

    Haha, I love how Travis uses pretty much the exact same words Parker did when he gave Abby that Bracelet. True E.L. James copy/paste style!
    Also, I’m not what you’d call an avid HIMYM fan and I haven’t watched the finale yet as it won’t air in Germany for another couple of weeks, but everything I’ve read so far makes me want to punch someone in the face.

  6. Kristin Reply

    So that’s it? The great and wonderful climax for our heroes(?) epic love story is that lame ass proposal? Not some cheezy candlelit dinner or rose petals in the tub or SOMETHING? Just, let’s go to Vegas for one night to get married? And the worst part? SHE did it! So now we can’t even claim that Travis is forcing her to do this (kind of like he forces everything else upon her).

    The only thing that can redeem this and bring some much needed cheeze into this is if they bring plot puppy to carry the rings down the aisle. Ooh- or matching tattoo rings or something.

    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      “And the worst part? SHE did it! So now we can’t even claim that Travis is forcing her to do this”

      Hahahahaha wow, we’ve hit the point where we’re complaining when a book isn’t sexist enough.

  7. E.H.Taylor Reply

    You know what makes this even worse? They’re not even getting married because they realized how short life was and therefore didn’t want to waste any more time apart. Nope, they’re getting married so they can “focus on something other than the horror of that night”.
    You know what else could get your mind off of that horror? Netflix.

    • Dana Reply

      Netflix doesn’t exist in this universe. Why do you think everybody spends so much time talking about Trabby?

  8. Pingback: College Romantic Comedy Kills Off Dozens Of People In A Fire. Again.: Beautiful Oblivion Chapter 24 - Bad Books, Good Times

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