Everything Comes Crashing Down: Beautiful Oblivion Chapter 20

The last chapter ended super ominously like this:

And that’s when it all came crashing down.

Which is, ironically, probably when the BBGT crowd gets most excited, so I’m glad it was so clearly spelled out for us! LET US BEGIN THE GRAND DEMISE!

Beautiful Oblivion Chapter 20

We open up with Cami wrapping up a customer’s paperwork at the tattoo parlor, who starts flirting with her.

“What time does this place close?” He stared right into my eyes, flashing a sexy smile that I imagined he had been perfecting in a mirror since puberty.

Somehow I feel like “sexy smile” and “puberty” have not previously appeared in a sentence together, and for logical reasons.

Strangely, Cami’s rebuttal actually starts out kind of alright.

“I’d love to take you to the Red Door. Have you been there?”
“Have you?” I asked, slightly amused.

And then (of course) Trenton shows up and ruins it.

“You want me to do [the tattoo]?” Trenton asked. […] “I’ll do it, but you’re going to have to stop staring at my girl’s tits.”

EVEN MORE STRANGELY, Trenton ruining it actually becomes the point!

I watched, unimpressed, as Trenton strolled back to his station […] with an arrogant swagger […]
“What the hell was that?”
“He asked you out!”
“So? I should have beat his ass!”
I sighed and closed my eyes. “Trent, I handled it.”

Hell, she even sort of calls him out on HIS OWN SEXISM.

You can’t run customers off every time they flirt with me. That’s what Cal hired me for.”
“He did not hire you to be flirted with. He hired—”
“A hot piece of ass to work the counter. A job you offered me, don’t forget.”

Cami telling off Trenton for being an arrogant, possessive hypocrite who openly objectified her himself? Christ on a bicycle, what is this? Opposite day?

But, lo, it is not opposite day.

“I’m not sorry for running him off, but I am sorry I made you mad. Think about it, though. I wasn’t going to tat him up after he hit on my girl. Trust me. It was best for everyone.”
“Stop making sense,” I snapped.

Here's a joke for like four of you.
Here’s a joke for like four of you.

Cami’s brothers, Colin and Chase, show up for the anticipated “we’re not gonna let you tear apart this family by staying away from our emotionally and physically abusive dad, somehow this makes sense” scene.

Colin frowned. “We need to talk to Camille. Alone.”
Trenton shook his head. “Not gonna happen.”
Chase narrowed his eyes and leaned toward us. “She’s our fucking family. We’re not asking for your permission, Maddox.”
Trenton raised an eyebrow. “You are, you just don’t know it yet.”

My God, it’s like a high stakes pissing match entirely between people I completely hate.

Costanza Popcorn
The tension, oh my, it is palpable.

Chase demands to know why Cami didn’t show up at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s day, and says that she “better fucking be there” for their dad’s birthday next week.

Meanwhile, bitches gonna bitch.

“Or what?” Trenton said.
“The fuck did you just say to me, Maddox?” Chase snapped.
Trenton lifted his chin. “She better be there, or what? What are you going to do if she doesn’t show?”
Chase leaned against the counter. “Come get her.” […]
“Camille, come outside with us right now, or I’m going to tear this place apart while I kick your buddy’s ass.”

Suddenly and astoundingly, Calvin shows up to do the only good thing he’ll ever do in this book: wonder why a bunch of underage douchebags are acting like this is acceptable behavior.

Calvin appeared on the other side of me. […] “Did you just say you were going to tear up my shop?”

Man, if Calvin weren’t the worst person in this book (which is a really tough competition, you guys), I’d absolutely love him here, utterly perplexed why he stumbled into a bad novel about walking penises.

For visual reference.
Now you have a visual.

Bishop and Hazel show up too to turn the scales. Hazel has a line about how she “may not look like much” but promises to “claw your eyes out”, but doesn’t want to have to because she doesn’t want to have to hurt Cami. This is interesting, because it’s probably supposed to say “See? Women are tough too!”, but the only way anyone in these books can be “strong” or “tough” is by adopting traditionally male qualities, almost exclusively aggression. It’s amazing how even in a scene where a female character delivers the final blow, everything in the Beautiful books comes down to who has the biggest metaphorical penis.

Chase looked to me. “I’ll call you later. We deserve an explanation for why our family’s falling apart.”

I keep being amazed that everyone keeps using the present progressive “falling” here.

So, for those of you keeping score at home, here’s how “it all came crashing down” so far:

  1. Trenton is being a dick
  2. Cami’s family are dicks

Yes, both of these things are veeeeeeeery different from how the novel has been up until this point. It’s like I’m reading a completely different book.

In the wake of the standoff with her brothers, Cami and Trenton have a weirdly on-point conversation…

“I’m never going to let them intimidate you again.”
I pressed my cheek against his chest again. “It’s all they know, Trent. I can’t really blame them.” […]
“they can make different choices. They choose to stick with what they know.”
“Kind of like you and your brothers?” I didn’t look up, and Trenton didn’t respond right away.

But, lo, it is not opposite day.

“[J]ust because you can beat someone’s ass… doesn’t mean you should.”
Trenton chuckled. “Yeah it does.” I tried — and not very hard — to push him away.

whyareyoulaughingNot that she’s laughing (finding 100% accurate gifs gets hard), but, still, why is she enabling his behavior? Reading Beautiful Oblivion (or most of the books we’ve read on BBGT) is basically reading one scene over and over where Trenton totally ignores Cami calling him out on some sexist or otherwise arrogant bullshit that makes him a disgusting human being, and she lets him disregard her.


Cami also tells Trenton where he spare key is hidden, which naturally segues into… a conversation about gambling on Travis’s fights and making bank? No, seriously, read this shit:

“Wait. Did you just tell me where the spare key was?”
“So can I use it anytime?”
I shrugged. “Yeah.”
A small smile tugged on one corner of Trenton’s mouth, and then it spread across his face. “I’m going to bet on Travis’s next fight.”

It then briefly turns into a conversation about them looking for an apartment together, which is sort of more apropos, until you realize that “LET’S GET A PLACE FOR OUR LOVE” doesn’t really logically stem from “the spare key is under a rock” either.

Trenton drives Cami back to her apartment, mentions that “it’s nasty out” (Cheeeeeeeeekhov’s guuuuuuuuun), and she gets ready for work at the bar with Raegan, who still has a subplot in this book.

“But we had plans. It’s not okay to cancel plans with me to go drinking with your frat brothers! Why don’t you get that?”
Brazil pulled his hat down low over his eyes, zipped up his coat, and left.

As a casual reminder, Raegan’s entire subplot is that she was happily dating one guy, then he didn’t along great with her dad, so she dumped him for her ex who has never not treated her badly, and she’s upset that her life isn’t better. Usually the “sub” in “subplot” refers to how it’s of less importance than the plot, and less so how it’s a significant decline in quality from the plot.

“He’s not ready for a relationship. He wants the benefits of a girlfriend without the commitment.”
She shook her head. “Then he’d just pull a Travis Maddox and fuck everything with a vag until he found the one, instead of trying so hard to make things work with me.”

Yes, 100% of Brazil’s scenes being him breaking a promise to Raegan to go drinking with his friends really shows how hard he’s trying to make things work.


“What are you waiting for, Ray?” […]
“Brazil dumped me right about this time before last year’s date party. I bought a dress, I told everyone he asked me. I’m going to that fucking party.”
I glared into the mirror, staring at her reflection in disbelief. “Are you kidding me? You are putting up with this frat boy nonsense to go to a party?”
“I bought a dress!” she said. “You wouldn’t understand.”
“You’re right. I wouldn’t.”

Pro writing tip: If the only conversations anyone can have with a character about their motivation is about how it doesn’t make sense, maybe this is not an interesting motivation for that character to have.

Kody shows up offering to drive them to work, because apparently no one in this book thinks women should be allowed to drive.

“What are you doing here?” Reagan asked, stepping out into the living room.
“It’s getting worse, Ray. I don’t think it’s a good idea that you drive. Either of you.”


Question of the day: What’s the book/movie/music/some other media coming out in 2015 that you’re most excited about? My inner nine-year-old is shamelessly pumped about a new Star Wars.



  1. Bellomy Reply

    To be honest, it’s actually “Inside Out”. This is how much respect I have for Pixar (or at least the part of Pixar coming up with revolutionary and risky new ideas and not the Pixar that’s coming out with “Toy Story 4”).

    The new Marvel movies should be fun too.

    If the Sherlock special actually does take place in Victorian England my year will have been made.

    Hey guys! For the Sci Phi Journal to stay solvent, you really need to buy it. It’s awesome, and also it published me, which of course means it’s run by geniuses. You can get it for four bucks on Amazon.

    (I’m not going to link it, it takes like two seconds to type into a search bar.)

    • 22aer22 Reply

      This has nothing to do with the above. But I’m on s2 of justified and it’s soooooooooooooo good. I mean, I feel like it started making the turn to freaking awesome towards the end of s1 to be fair, but OMG s2. Also, one of my favourite people from Lost (gag) plays the son Dickie and I was so excited to see him.

      I hate Winona. Can she please get off my screen and make more room for Boyd?

      • malcolmthecynic Reply

        EVERYONE hates Winona.

        Yeah, dude who played Dickie won an Oscar, but this is Mags’ season. Margo Martindale is brilliant. Wait for her big speech in episode 8. She also won for that season.

        Season 2 was the exception to the “Justified gets totally snubbed at the Emmy’s” rule.

        • 22aer22 Reply

          Oh yeah Mag’s is amaze, no doubt.

          This might have been too long ago for you to recall, but basically Ava accuses Raylan of cheating on her with Winona, but from what I understood Raylan had ended things with Ava because it was a conflict of interest to be with her.

          I have mixed feelings about Ava but her friendship with Boyd this season is adorable, and I love that their roomies.

          Also, props to Doyle. I don’t know why, but I am v. happy every time he shows up on screen to tell his brothers they’re idiots or to annoy Raylan.

          • Bellomy Reply

            The relationship between Boyd and Ava becomes more prominent as the show goes on. Walton Goggins is incredible.

            The overall acting is incredibly high quality, actually.

            This might have been too long ago for you to recall, but basically Ava accuses Raylan of cheating on her with Winona, but from what I understood Raylan had ended things with Ava because it was a conflict of interest to be with her.

            Oh, I remember this. The theme in season 1 was that whenever Raylan did something that made one of those two women pissed at him he was right. This was actually lampshaded in the excellent season 1 finale (paraphrasing):

            RAYLAN, TO AVA: Next time, what do you do when I tell you to leave Kentucky?

            AVA: I leave Kentucky.

            But yeah, I was pissed at Ava too. He wasn’t even together with her when he slept with his ex wife who threw herself at him. And Winona is STILL worse. She cheated on not one, but two husbands. Really?

            The man is only human. I do like, though, that when he sleeps around there are actually consequences for it.

            You’re right that the show picked up near the end of season 1. It was still trying to figure out whether it was a Law and Order style case by case driven show or if it wanted to have a storyline, and when it decided on having a storyline it picked up big time.

            • Bellomy Reply

              BTW, the fact that a song even exists called “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” is almost too good to believe for a show like “Justified”. I honestly thought it was written for the show originally. “Justified” has a great soundtrack.

            • 22aer22 Reply

              Ha! Do you know if the intro was written for the show or if they happened to find it? Cause there’s a line about being Justified in it (not that I sit around listening to the full song…except I do.)

              Honestly, I really did think you meant an Oscar and I wanted to know what film he’d been in to earn it! He won an Emmy for playing Dickie? Like he’s good don’t get me wrong, but I must not be at the parts yet where he’s amaze.

              It doesn’t even matter if Winona threw herself at him or not, Ava can totally be hurt that he slept with his ex esp if it meant he wasn’t over her when they were together, but she’s so dumb for accusing him of cheating! Also, Winona is a cheating asshole.

              • Bellomy Reply

                Oh, I get the reaction of being hurt, but it’s hard for me to really hate Raylan there. And yeah, he didn’t cheat on her.

                Oh, Dickie gets some scenes in the late episodes. Seriously, the later episodes of season 2 are SO GOOD. Like, “up with the best TV of all time” good.

                • 22aer22 Reply

                  I love Raylan too much to ever hate him even when he’s doing something dumb, esp here when he’s not really in the wrong. If I were Ava, sure, I’d be jealous/mad because that’s just how those kinds of feelings work. But as a viewer who loves how he delivers his lines (seriously, he could be like, “How was your day” and it’s amazing and charming.) I could listen to Mags/Boyd/Raylan deliver lines pretty much all day long and be happy.

                  Ahhhhhhh loving s2 so much and it only gets better, can’t wait to watch more tonight.

              • Bellomy Reply

                I THINK the intro was written for the show, but don’t quote me on that.

                Fun fact: I know somebody who actually had the chance to see the band that plays the song for free. They left after ten minutes.

    • matthewjulius Reply

      I’m jumping on the bandwagon late here, but I dunno about Inside Out. I absolutely loved Pixar, and there was a time not too long ago where both The Incredibles and Up rank in my top 5 movies, but Pixar’s been underwhelming me lately. I’m sure there’s a mix of rational feelings (Cars, Cars 2, Monsters University, the fact that almost every other movie they’re working on is a sequel…) in with irrational ones (Brave wasn’t great, you know), so I have complicated feelings about Inside Out. I don’t think the trailer was as spellbinding as people seemed to think it was, but I’m probably going to see it on day one. But I’m hesitant. But I’m optimistic.

      There. That was a fairly circuitous response worth posting.

      • Dana Reply

        Besides Up and The Incredibles, all those Pixar movies you just listed? I haven’t seen any one of them. For me, it’s more like Pixar has gone on a long hiatus rather than faced any kind of slump, and I prefer it that way.

        To be fair, I also haven’t seen Toy Story 3 for whatever reason, and everybody seemed to love that one.

        • Bellomy Reply

          “Toy Story 3” was fantastic, though surprisingly dark. I remember watching it and thinking “If I was five and watching this it would give me nightmares”. Seriously hellfire and brimstone sort of stuff.

          • matthewjulius Reply

            Pretty much! It was properly depressing for a sequel that came out when I was in college to a movie I loved when I was barely in school

      • Bellomy Reply

        Anyway, this is not a sequel,nor is it a fairly generic fantasy like “Brave”. It looks as if they’re going back to taking risks and doing things nobody has ever really tried before. THAT is Pixar.

  2. Madeline Reply

    Question: Why is this family falling apart?
    Answer: THE DAD. He’s the asshole, and all of Cami’s brothers are assholes for going along with his behavior to try and drag her to family events just so she can get shit on. I’m sure he shits on them too, and it’s probably rough, but why are they blaming it all on Cami? Fuckers.

    I’m looking forward to a lot of books coming out, also Teen Wolf because I’m garbage.

    • 22aer22 Reply

      I started watching Teen Wolf and could tell I was going to love it, but then when I moved to the UK I couldn’t access it on Netflix, and I don’t think it’s on there anymore. I really want to watch that tho :((

      Also, it’s super unclear why the mom and Cami are always trying to protect the brothers from knowing their dad is a dick…like that seems pretty impossible to hide?

      • Madeline Reply

        Yeah Teen Wolf went off Netflix which sucks because I keep forgetting it has and get disappointed every time I type it in and remember. You should watch it though because it’s stupid and wonderful and werewolves.

        Haha, yeah, I’m pretty sure the dad’s dickishness is known by everyone in town, let alone everyone in the Camlin family. Didn’t he used to beat up their mom in front of them?

  3. Kate Reply

    I’m most “excited” about Avengers: Age of Ultron, in that I am violently, shamelessly obsessed with anything Marvel, so I’m obligated to see it the day it comes out, but I’m also super wary about Joss Whedon’s treatment of basically every character in this fucking franchise (particularly Cap and whatever Firefly reboot bullshit he seems prepared to do with the Maximoff twins), so I’m prepared to side-eye the shit out of it all.
    I was also, of course, super excited to rally the entire English department at my university to get shitfaced and go see Fifty Shades, but the more I read about the movie, the less excited I am? Like, I don’t think I’m even going to enjoy ragewatching it. It just looks basic.

    • matthewjulius Reply

      I, TOO, AM VERY EXCITED ABOUT AVENGERS. Not that I don’t go into each one with an unnecessarily critical eye, but they’re generally good fun all the same.
      I’m intrigued by your “Firefly reboot bullshit” comment. I’ve only seen the two trailers that have come out, so I’m not sure I understand, but I’m curious what you’re seeing.
      Oh my God, I’m going to start saying that. Whenever people ask me if I’m seeing the Fifty Shades movie, I’m just gonna say it looks basic.

      • Kate Reply

        In the mid-credits scene for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the twins are first introduced. Pietro is raging around his cell, and Wanda is using her powers to levitate children’s blocks, which is super gross and infantilized. Since then, the actors (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen) have talked a little bit about their characters, and mostly what we’re getting is “he’s really protective of his sister because she’s mentally unbalanced and fragile, but can unexpectedly take care of herself in super badass moments,” which has Simon and River Tam written all over it. I was a ride-or-die Buffy fan, but I’m also super critical of almost everything Joss Whedon does, because he likes to repeat certain themes in his work, and those themes are very often problematic (e.g. rape origins/metaphors/allegories for his female characters; assaulting female characters to further the development of male ones; writing mentally ill women as childlike and girlish, like Druscilla on Buffy, Tara in the end of Buffy’s fifth season, Echo on Dollhouse, River on Firefly).
        Basically, I’m taking this movie way too seriously and need to calm the fuck down about it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I just have this tendency to be insanely critical of things I love. Or hate. Or am ambivalent about. I’m maybe just a critical person in general?

        • matthewjulius Reply

          Ohhhhh I see it now. Yeah, I… really hope it doesn’t turn out like that. I have no problem with Simon and River, but – like anything – when overrepresentation becomes an issue, then it makes all of it look bad.
          No need to worry about taking even things you like too seriously. That’s basically my entire life.

  4. joy Reply

    Purity Ring announced their sophomore album’s release date today and I COULD NOT BE MORE STOKED. The turnover between “we’re working on something” and “this is when you can hear it” was fast this time; last time it took about a year and I had bets on estimated release dates going until people on my Twitter feed got bored with betting me.

    And now for a completely different genre, that album comes out the same month as Seth Avert & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith, so I’m extra glad.

    At least four other artists I like are releasing new material this year as well, two of them after long hiatuses (hiati? Never had to pluralize that before). I’d been holding out for/doggedly asking one of them about it for the past two years. Hoping it’s going to be a David Bowie’s “Station to Station”-style stylistic shift, but will probably be happy with anything that isn’t 28 minutes of looping drone.

    Of course, I got the .gif joke because I’m a nerd. David Byrne is partially to blame for my love of strongly-tailored blazers.

  5. Dana Reply

    Since starting college, I have no idea what movies are even coming out (Besides Jurassic World which … eh … I love me some Jurassic Park, but I don’t know if I can sit through the movie without imagining Burt Macklin FBI the entire time), so most of the things I’m happy about are returning TV shows: Archer, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Broad City, Girls, GoT, Hannibal, Veep, etc.

    • 22aer22 Reply

      I’m most excited about Jurassic World!!! Imagining Burt Macklin FBI in the movie can only increase enjoyment. Also I think there’s a Jurassic Parks & Rec mash-up floating around. I haven’t watched it yet, but I keep meaning to.

      YOU ARE MY TV SOUL MATE OMG YOU NAMED ALL SHOWS I LOVE. Well, I gave up GoT awhile back but maybe will watch it again one day…Did Girls come back this week? I feel like it might have been on this past Sun.

      • Dana Reply

        It did! I haven’t watched it yet though. And I only now just realized that I mentioned Burt Macklin FBI without mentioning the fact that Parks and Rec comes back on tonight!

        • 22aer22 Reply

          I am so excited!! I’m going to watch it tonight after work. I have missed it so much, but at the same time am so sad because this is it 🙁


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