How Cami got her Tattoos/One Defining Feature: Beautiful Oblivion Chapter 7

"that's bullshit, sally draper mad men"

In excited BBGT news, Matt came to visit today! And he got to experience virtual reality ooooh. I’ll upload the picture for you guys tomorrow, so get pumped!

This somehow lead to a discussion about how terrifying Fifty Shades of Grey would be if you had to watch it using the Oculus. I shudder to think about getting any closer to that action.

In Beautiful Oblivion news, last week there was a bar fight, and Cami felt kind of jealous when Trenton kissed his nemesis’ girlfriend in order to…prove a point? Complicated (and inexplicable) feelings about douchebags abound as usual in this instalment of our favourite series.

Chapter 7

The chapter opens with Cami asking T.J. if he’s going to be home for Thanksgiving. With that crazy job of his, he just won’t know until the day before! That is so un-American.

“I understand. You warned me. Stop acting like I’m going to throw a tantrum every time you can’t give me a straight answer.”

He sighed. “I’m sorry. It’s not that. I’m just worried the next time you ask, and I answer . . . you’re going to say something I don’t want to hear.”

I smiled against the phone, wishing I could hug him. “It’s nice to know you don’t want to hear it.”

“I don’t. It’s hard to explain . . . wanting this promotion and wanting to be with you just as much.”

It’s so hard to want one thing when you also want another thing, like when you want to go see two movies and can’t pick which one. You guys, I think T.J. might be…Divergent. That’s the only thing that could explain the existence of such complex feelings.

Cami heads out to work at the Red, prepared for a crazy night, only to find it’s a really slow.

“Thirty minutes in, Raegan was grumbling under her breath as she wiped down the bar for the third time. “Is there an underground fight thing tonight?”

“I shook my head. “The Circle? It’s never held this early.”

It’s clearly not very “underground” if literally everyone knows about it, and if people refer to it as competition for local entertainment.

Just when you thought Trenton was going to roll in and take this opportunity to harass Cami, a different Maddox brother shows up for some fanservice:

Travis Maddox was trudging to his usual barstool, looking pitiful. Raegan put a double in front of him, and he sucked it down in one gulp, letting the glass crash to the wood.

“Uh-oh,” I said, taking the bottle Raegan handed me. “There’s only two things that could be that bad. Is everyone in the family okay?” I asked, bristling in anticipation of his answer.

“Yep. Everyone except me.”

“I don’t believe it,” I said, stunned. “Who is she?”

Travis’s shoulders fell. “She’s a freshman. And don’t ask me what it is about her. I don’t know, yet. But, when I was bagging this other chick today, I felt like I was doing something wrong, and then this girl’s face popped into my head.”

I hope you have your bingo boards ready! We have a “bagging” spotting, everyone!

This is just going to keep happening, so I’ll say it now. The references to Beautiful/Walking Disaster are so poorly done and really detract from this book and pull me out of the story. It never feels fun or exciting when these other characters pop up, and even though it’s sort of interesting to see the overlapping timelines, moments like these really make me hate when any of them show up:

“Tell me what to do, Cami. You know about girls. You’re kind of one.”

“Okay, first of all,” I said, leaning toward him, “suck my dick.”

“See? Girls don’t say that.”

“The cool ones do,” Raegan said.”

When Travis sought advice from Cami in his book, this wasn’t even the scene we saw. This is ANOTHER Travis-comes-to-Cami-for-advice scene that makes no fucking sense given there was never a shred of evidence that these people were friends. A big thing about Travis was that he never had any female friends before Abby, so I don’t buy that he’d be crying to Cami like she’s his best friend.

This is also a freaking terrible way to try to establish Cami’s character. What is up with this “You’re kind of one” nonsense? Most girls I know throw around “suck my dick”, and I’m sorry but it’s not an automatic cool-girl move. Adopting any regularly used phrase is not some sort of identifier of being cool for anyone, and the way the book keeps simplifying Cami’s personality into things like, “Oh, she’s not like other girls because she likes sports and says ‘suck my dick'” is completely insulting to all women. It’s just reinforcing the idea that all girls act a certain way, which is bull shit, and we all know it.

Furthermore, what has Travis ever seen about Cami before this moment to make him think of her as unfeminine/dude-like? She certainly dresses like a girl (she goes on and on about her outfit for working at the bar right at the start of this chapter), and Trenton had no idea she was into sports or anything before this book, so I highly doubt Travis knows anything about her.

Let’s not dwell on this, though, because we need even more insight into how Trabby happened, because there was so much ambiguity left there.

“There are three tricks to landing a hard-to-get: patience, having other options, and being aloof. You are not the BFF. You’re sex on a stick, flirting just out of reach. In other words, Travis Maddox.”

“I knew it. You’ve always wanted me,” he said, smug.

I stood up. “Uh . . . no. Not at all. Not even in high school.”

“Liar,” he said, standing. “I never tried with you, either. My brother has always been in love with you.”

"that's bullshit, sally draper mad men"

Wait…what? Trent’s everlasting feelings for Cami come up a few times in the book, and I never buy it. You’re telling me that Trenton has been in love with her forever, but only decided to have a conversation with her a week ago, even though he’s in this bar pretty much every night? And he never seems nervous around her at all, showing up to force her into dates and such.

Also, here’s another reason why these cameos from characters like Travis are super irritating:

“I nodded. “If you guys end up married, you owe me a hundred bucks.”

“Married?” Travis said, his face screwing into disgust. “What the fuck, Cami? I’m nineteen! Nobody gets married at nineteen.”

[…]

“He snorted. “Me getting married at all is unlikely? Anytime soon? Never gonna happen.”

"You say things and you don't mean them, sally draper mad men"

Oh ho ho, so funny because he marries Abby not much later!

In fact, Travis buys an engagement ring for Abby almost immediately. To show us this brand new conversation and try to demonstrate further just how drastically Abby changed Travis isn’t contributing to anything about my understanding for the character. Not only does he still seem like a complete psycho, it actually just makes his behaviour make even less sense! You can be completely in love with someone and intend to marry them but hold off on buying a ring…or getting married if you feel like nineteen is too young. It isn’t further convincing me of his epic love for Abby, it’s just convincing me that he’s a complete moron.

Travis leaves, and Cami worries that Trenton has been talking about her and that rumours will get back to T.J. about them! I worry that there are still 28 pages left in this chapter, and I have already written over 1000 words. Thank god for bullet points!

At work the next day at the tattoo parlour, Cami and Trent bantor.

“Chamomile!” he said. He was holding a bowl full of plastic fruit.

“Oh, please don’t. It wasn’t funny in middle school, and it’s definitely not funny now.”

Trenton shrugged. “I liked it.”

“You didn’t even know who I was in middle school.”

He frowned. “Says who?”

I made a show of looking around. “You didn’t speak to me until I grew tits.”

Hazel cackled. “Work has been so much more entertaining since she was hired!”

I can’t even begin to imagine how boring work must have been if this was the case.

Trent seems really butt hurt that Cami thinks he didn’t know who she was or talk to her. Again, not buying this whole secretly-pining-from-afar for all these years when out of the blue he finally works up the courage to talk to her at the bar where she works that he always goes to?

Some girls come in, and I only mention it because of this important detail:

The door chimed, and a group of four girls walked in: all blond, all tan, and all showcasing their double-D-cup breasts in tight shirts that were in various shades of pink.

This gives us some much needed insight into Jamie McGuire’s frame of reference for breasts. D-cups = small, but double-D-cup, now we’re talking! 

Here’s how the rest of the chapter plays out in bullet-point form!

  • Trenton really wants to watch Spaceballs with Cami. McGuire continues to get paid handsomely every time she mentions this fucking movie.
  • Hazel’s sister shows up, and for some reason we get this massive backstory about how she was adopted and so were all her siblings, and they’re all super close. I really don’t know why we learn this.
  • Cal continues to wander in to ask if Bishop has ever come in. I’m starting to believer Bishop is the Megumi of this series, and we’ll find out he’s been kidnapped or something.
  • Trent and Hazel convince Cami to get a tattoo. Trent calls Cami baby doll in this scene…so she decides to get that tattooed on her fingers. I know whenever people call me by a generic, demeaning term I immediately feel the need to get it tattooed so I can recall those warm feelings whenever I’m feeling low. What a satisfying origin story for Cami’s only defining features from her appearance in Walking Disaster. 
  • “He’ll make it beautiful, won’t you?” I asked.
    Trenton turned on the machine, and then looked at me with a soft expression. “You’re already beautiful.”This would be sweet if Cami had said, “He’ll make me beautiful, won’t you?” Like it’s all very sweet that I’m already beautiful, but are you going to make the fucking tattoo beautiful?
  • After getting her tattoo, Cami is contacted by one of her brothers to come to family dinner, so she has to leave work immediately. Because family dinner.
  • Trent invites himself to dinner which makes no fucking sense.
  • “You need at least one person at that table on your side, and that’s going to be me.”
    How could I argue with that?”Here is how you could argue with that: “No, Trent, this is private family business. Having you there on my side makes no sense and is totally invasive given you’ve never even met these people before.”
  • Trent promises he won’t punch anyone. Let’s see if he can live up to that!

Are you guys buying this sudden push to convince us Trent has always been in love with Cami, or do you think that was thrown in as an afterthought to try to make this feel even more epically romantic?

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0 comments

  1. Gee Reply

    I think I must have missed them being from the same area and growing up together. Probably because they act like they just met during this college age? Plus what is the age difference here between Travis and Trenton? It sounds like Cami and Trent are the same age, and we know Travis is the youngest…so…I mean for arguments sake what if they’re maybe two-four years apart….so Travis is joking that Cami wanted to bone him when she was like, seventeen in high school and he was fourteen? I don’t know, I probably missed something, the whole thing is fucking stupid, including her getting a tattoo on her fingers of a name said to her by someone she claims she doesn’t even like.

    Anyway, the real reason I’m posting is because I’m assuming TJ is cheating on her-gone all the time, doesn’t even stay long enough for a little loving? I call bullshit. Plus it means she’ll need Trenton to console her, thus pushing their relationship along.

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  2. Kate Reply

    I don’t get why “I’ve loved you since we were literal children” is supposed to be romantic. It’s like how, back in the day, Boy Meets World had this really interesting dynamic between Corey and Topanga in the early seasons, where she was already fully confident in her identity, and he had to learn to grow the fuck up and stop being a judgey loser so he could be worthy of dating someone who had her shit together at a stunningly young age, and then… the show went back and rewrote that entire backstory midway through the series to make it seem like they’d been in love since kindergarten. Kids aren’t capable of romantic love in any lasting, meaningful context. By telling us that Trenton fell for Cami when he was still just an idiot kid, McGuire is essentially telling us that neither of them has changed in any measurable way since they were in middle school, so his “adult” feelings for her are the same as (and as valid as) his “child” feelings were.

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