My Absolute Darling

My Absolute Darling

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"--
Publisher: New York, New York : Riverhead Books, ©2017.
ISBN: 9780735211179
Characteristics: 417 pages ;,24 cm.


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Feb 07, 2018

This book bravely tackles an awful subject with thoughtfulness and care. As someone who unfortunately has to work with child porn on a daily basis, I can understand why there are those who would rather pretend it doesn't exist and as such, disregard this book as insulting and even offensive. On the contrary, I find it extremely important. The signs of child abuse as often ignored in a similar by those who have the power to step in and help, which ironically, this book goes into length to show. I was inspired by Turtle's bravery and was moved by her emotions. A truly great novel.

Feb 03, 2018

Appalled immediately by the sexual abuse scenes, which only got worse. Almost stopped reading not even 100 pages in but was encouraged to continue by previous readers that said it was worth it. Many scenes could have been cut. Way too long of a book because of lengthy gun cleaning scenes and other unnecessary, uninteresting descriptions. Enjoyed the scenes with the boys, but so unrealistic for teenagers. The whole end of the book with the final confrontation was confusing and also too "action movie". I found myself skimming many parts of the book simply because it was boring or too horrifying to read too closely. If not for wanting to know how this girl gets out of her hellish life, would have put the book down almost immediately. Kind of sorry I wasted my time reading it and I didn't feel it was worth it in the end, since I ended up skimming whole last chapter just to put it down.

Jan 15, 2018

I was stunned to read the thinly veiled child porn that virtually began the story. I read the entire assault passage, hoping that I was wrong about what I was reading. I wasn't. I had to put it down in disgust and disappointment.

Dec 22, 2017

An unusual and compelling story - based on child physical and sexual abuse. Turtle struggles to live within her environment while simultaneously wanting to escape. Not necessarily for the faint-hearted who think life is sugar-coated.

OPL_ErinD Dec 19, 2017

This was my favorite book I read in 2017. It's about the struggle for one girl's mind, body and soul told against the backdrop of the vividly described northern California wilderness. This is one of the most emotionally challenging books I have ever picked up. It's not for everyone, but I can't recommend it enough.

Dec 17, 2017

It took me a little while to get through this book. I found myself interested in it, but also really turned off by the horrifying subject matter. I ended up feeling really disturbed in my daily life while reading this book. The descriptions of the sexual, mental and emotional abuse of a young girl were overwhelming for me.

As another reader also pointed out, I think some of the dialogue was not very believable. The dialogue between the teenage boys seemed way off from how I remember teenage boys talking. I do, however, feel opposite to one reader who didn't think Turtle could both love and hate her dad. I think systematic emotional and mental abuse of a child can really play a lot of tricks on their mind and leave them confused in so many ways. I did find that aspect believable.

I am glad I read the book as I never read these types of books. I would not recommend this book for anyone who is easily disturbed by "bad" things.

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.

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.

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.

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Dec 04, 2017

CrazyBookLover thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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