My Absolute Darling

My Absolute Darling

A Novel

Book - 2017
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""The word 'masterpiece' has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one." --Stephen King A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl's heart-stopping fight for her own soul. Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father. Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her. The reader tracks Turtle's escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, and watches, heart in throat, as she struggles to become her own hero--and in the process, becomes ours as well. Shot through with striking language in a fierce natural setting, My Absolute Darling is an urgently told, profoundly moving read that marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer"--
"One of the most momentous debuts in years: A transcendent novel that strikes a deep emotional chord, My Absolute Darling combines a page-turning female survival story, an arresting use of language, and a heart-wrenchingly powerful redemptive arc"--
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2017
ISBN: 9780735211179
Branch Call Number: Talent, G
Talent, G
Talent, G
Characteristics: 417 pages ; 24 cm


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Nov 14, 2017

very graphic descriptions of child sex abuse. some sections about life in NOCA are wonderful. the teenage boy characters are wonderful. the main character, Turtle, is drawn incompletely. very violent. had a hard time finishing it. beware.

Nov 11, 2017

My Absolute Darling ranks among those books one must read in your life such as Lord of the Flies or even Catcher in the Rye. It's challenging and uncomfortable, totally riveting without a classic happy ending. Gabriel Tallent's prose addresses violence and abuse in lyrical terms that don't feel inappropriate to the horrific subject matter. He gets into fourteen year-old Turtle's head completely and explores the conflicting feelings this damaged girl experiences. It's been a long time since I read anything so thought provoking. This is not a book you will say you loved. What is happening to Turtle is too awful, but is a book you will be glad you read. I know it will stay with me for a very long time.

Nov 09, 2017

Be warned: This is a horrific, brutal depiction of a 14 year old girl held captive by a violent narcissistic psychopathic father. She is systematically terrorized tortured raped and brainwashed. I tried to stay with it, see Turtle through to the promised resolution of her story, but felt spiritually and emotionally soiled by reading it.
The author's descriptions of the Mendocino locale, its geography, flora and fauna are gorgeous but rendered in the same spirit of violence.

JCLCatherineG Sep 29, 2017

I wanted to read this because the reviews on it were so great. I tried but had to give up; the rape and violence the girl endures at the hands of her father was just too much.

LPL_PolliK Sep 26, 2017

Fourteen-year-old Turtle lives in a crumbling house, eats raw eggs for breakfast before dreaming through school, carries and cleans her handgun obsessively, wanders the Northern California wilderness and beaches, and tries to come to terms with loving her father, the only parent she knows, who is violently abusive and barely holding on to his sanity. When she finds two friends in the woods, she begins to question her life and if it could be different, provoking things to a head with her unstable father. Gorgeous depiction of the natural world juxtaposed with a difficult depiction of a child in trauma. Scenes of rape and violence, as well as incredible strength and resilience.

Sep 23, 2017

Wow! Heart wrenching, ugly, beautiful!

Sep 22, 2017

My first review in any format: I have no words for how magnificent this work is. Stephen King summed up my thoughts perfectly on the back cover of this book. "There are books we like well enough to recommend . . . , but there are very few we remember forever. To my own shortlist I can now add My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent. Fourteen-year-old Turtle Galveston is a brilliantly rendered creation, and her father is the most terrifyingly believable human monster to inhabit the pages of a novel since Harry Powell in The Night of the Hunter. This book is ugly, beautiful, horrifying, and uplifting. The word 'masterpiece' has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one." I've seen many one-star reviews of this book, but Mr. King gets it. I will never forget this book.

Sep 16, 2017

Raw, brutal, and gripping. A compelling portrayal of the complex relationship between 14 year old Turtle and her abusive father. As Turtle starts to come of age, she begins to see the poison in their fierce love for one another.

Cynthia_N Sep 14, 2017

Such a good read yet such a hard read! Turtle is being raised by her abusive father and it goes beyond what I could have imagined. She is dismissive of most people because she knows she cannot let them in but she does makes friends with two teenage boys. She lets one of them in. The book has a horrifying portion where Turtle has to make a difficult decision but I'm going to stop there because I don't want to spoil anything. Recommended if you think you can handle it!!

StaceyM_KCMO Sep 14, 2017

Beautiful, lyrical prose contrasts with the sharp, smart, teenage gun-toting survivalist named Turtle. The setting is almost like its own character, rough around the edges but still tender-hearted and sensitive at the roots (much like the protagonist, Turtle). Many themes emerge, but readers will be rooting for Turtle to come into her own and find the courage to rely on others' friendship to escape her treacherous, abusive father. I loved the character development in this novel and the complexity of the relationships between characters (especially between Turtle and her father, whom she manages to both love and hate at the same time). The wildness of the setting fits with Turtle's character completely: Can she ever be "tamed".... or more importantly, does she want to be? This novel will keep you turning the pages to find out.

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