My Absolute Darling : A Novel

My Absolute Darling : A Novel

eBook - 2017
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Penguin Putnam
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES'S MOST NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2017
ONE OF THE WASHINGTON POST’S MOST NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2017
AN AMAZON.COM BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A BUSINESS INSIDER BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

"Impossible to put down." NPR


"A novel that readers will gulp down, gasping.” —The Washington Post
 

"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. What follows is a harrowing story of bravery and redemption. With Turtle's escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, the reader watches, heart in throat, as this teenage girl 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.

Baker & Taylor
Enduring an isolated existence after the death of her mother, 14-year-old Turtle roams the rocky shores and tide pools of the California coast and refutes every outside attempt to engage her before an unexpected friendship with a newcomer helps her realize the vulnerabilities of her life with her charismatic father.

Publisher: Riverhead Books,, 2017
ISBN: 9780735211193
0735211191
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Baker & Taylor Axis 360
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks

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l
lxydis
Dec 12, 2017

Absolutely loathsome, and not interestingly so.
Despite wordy descriptions of the countryside, TEDIOUS details on guns & ammo & cleaning thereof--not to mention jarringly specific brand and author name-droppings (first Turtle "is wearing Levi's [sic] over black Icebreaker wool tights" and then she's "pulling Carhartts over her Smartwool long underwear"; Middlemarch, Marcus Aurelius, Proust and all sorts of high-end books are mentioned) the descriptions were confusing and monotonous, and there was was remarkably little sense of place or palpable difference in the characters. The author was showing off his knowledge of plant vocabulary and literature (and, oh yes, guns, always with the guns!) and sounding 'poetic', but there was not enough interiority of character or believable psychology--or even exterior description--for me to distinguish between the 2 boys, or the 'nice' hippie-stereotype teachers/mothers.
It's not that I don't believe that backwoods monsters like the father exist, or that his daughter could be profoundly abused and also love him, but somehow I didn't buy the dialogue, neither the ostensibly 'humorous' banter between the boys, nor Turtle's internal monologues of self-loathing.
Beyond a basic need for narrative closure (wanting to see if she got out of it alive) I stopped caring, and despite being a person who loves 1) words 2) learning about areas beyond my scope through a narrative story 3) medical/surgical descriptions, I found the endless guns and dank plant life unutterably wearisome (I started skimming over these early on) and the surgery/medical descriptions callous, revolting and monotonous at the same time.
The author perhaps was attempting to humanize his anti-hero (or promote his own libertarian ethos, or add interest in the story?) by inserting stuff about climate change, hippy pot-growers, capitalist off-the-grid techies, which all came off as both too specific and too generic to be anything other than banal, patronizing stereotypes.
When it all ended it up in a shoot-em-up teen-prom-party with a super-hero 'survivor' girl saving the day (lots of guns, lots of shooting, but boring to read because it was actually very unclear who was where, who was doing what; this was also true of the foul sex scenes, which were sadistically descriptive yet oddly unclear, though NOT because the author was drawing a veil), I guess that was not that surprising. Or that cathartic.
And don't get me started on the annoying use of the present tense. It seems to be a fashion these days, to evoke "immediacy" or some crap like that.

b
Barbaravee
Dec 12, 2017

"Riveting", un-put-downable. The subject matter may not be pretty but the characterizations are unforgettable, the writing luminous. I gave it 4 1/2 stars. It would have and should have been 5 but I was disappointed in the ending. Seemed to me to be an ending to a completely different book. Fantastic read nonetheless.

t
tonyalockman
Nov 25, 2017

I finished this book, which was interesting and well written, but could have done without the graphic depictions of child sexual abuse.

lindab2662 Nov 24, 2017

I'm being generous here. I couldn't get past all the incest and sexual abuse of children. The main character believed she deserved to be abused and seemed to enjoy it? Give me a break. The author is good writer and I hope his next books aren't so dark. The ending was just too unbelievable.

r
ralphsanders
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.

j
june2813
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.

r
RoseFlorence
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.

s
sues05
Sep 23, 2017

Wow! Heart wrenching, ugly, beautiful!

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CrazyBookLover
Dec 04, 2017

CrazyBookLover thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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