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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ednabw
Sep 12, 2018

A difficult read - the writing is raw and powerful and gritty. If it wasn't a book club choice, I don't think I would have finished it except, as a reader, there is an underlying compulsion to feel there is a slight chance of hope and for redemption. At first, you are, by nature, compelled to root for the young survivalist woman-teen who is in an abusive relationship with her father. Although support from others is obvious and blatant, she repels all assistance with the same tone for which she is familiar. Her poisonous emotional attachment to her father draws her into a fateful and inevitable outcome until she acknowledges that others may be affected. The book is hard to like but also, hard to put down.

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mbenavent
Aug 09, 2018

Beware reader! This is a book that addresses a really horrifying topic. Physical, psychological and sexual abuse from a father to his daughter. It is absolutely crude and so unpleasant to read that I found it almost impossible to read at times. I considered several times if it made sense to read something that is so painful, disgusting and with lots of unnecessary detail and violence, but I decided to continue until the end to try and understand what the author was aiming at. Not worth it. Now I need to find another book that helps me get rid of the shock this novel has left me in.

t
tuckerandzahra
Jul 10, 2018

Not what you think this book is going to be. A very graphic hard read at some points, this girl is a wonderful character, but has a VERY hard life. Some details of her father sexually assaulting her are almost too much detail. I bought this book, but cant think of a friend that I would give the book to and tell them it was a "good" read. Compelling read, but the story is difficult, and at the end quite violent.

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velveetahead
Jul 05, 2018

This book was brutal. I almost stopped reading it after the first chapter. I suspected it was going where I thought it might be going in terms of the abuse and did not enjoy reading it. The way it was written, at first, did not show much conflict in Turtle's thinking. She mirrored her father's thoughts a lot when she thought about herself and other women. Later on in the book, she actually gets away from her father for extended periods of time and sees how other people live. It opens up her mind and she becomes more conflicted about if everything her father has done to her and said to her is true.

I struggled with the descriptions of violence towards Turtle. I feel like I read this entire book with a clenched jaw due to the uneasiness I felt living in this world.

I did enjoy the very end, starting with the final battle and the aftermath of that battle. It was satisfying and realistic. The character of Turtle's dad was believable. I know there are people like that in the world. He was horrible, but apparently charming enough to the outside world so he got away with a lot of things he shouldn't have.

I don't think I would ever recommend this book to someone. It did make a shift for me halfway through, but that clenched-jaw feeling and high anxiety that I felt at the beginning half of the book is not something I would ever wish on anyone else. It's one of those decent books I have read, but I'll never have the desire to read it again.

shan180 Jun 27, 2018

A friend half heartedly recommended this book, and I felt the same way when I recommended it to another friend; because of the subject matter. It was superb in webbing the storyline, and difficult to read because of the content. I loved the seriousness of the subject, and very much disliked reading about the subject. What a book! I would recommend it to anyone who can read about tragic family circumstances, and enjoys a page turner.

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cedaranna
Jun 21, 2018

A gripping incredible book, but very disturbing.

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m0mmyl00
May 30, 2018

Turtle is a 14-year-old girl who lives with her father in an off-the-grid-type situation in Northern California. The father is intent on building her into a strong, tough person who can sustain herself and defeat any foe. He is convinced of the imminent collapse of civilization as we know it. He is also convinced that he loves Turtle dearly, calling her “my absolute darling.” He shows it by having sex with her regularly. She loves him, too, and hates him at the same time. They have trapped each other in a needy, sick, and violent life. She wanders off one day and meets a couple of teen-age boys, and they become friends. Having a more-or-less normal relationship with someone ultimately saves her. She realizes she has to stop her father or he will kill her, and her father realizes the same thing. It’s a sad, sick relationship. Reading it was hard, and I don’t feel enlightened or wiser for having put myself through the emotional turmoil of the book. The book may have been well-written, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

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bort23
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.

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hpbookjunkie
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.

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LouWSytsma
Jan 13, 2018

This was a hard read because of the subject matter but the skill level of Tallent - Tallent's got talent! (sorry had to go there) - is quite evident in this book.

My Absolute Darling is a book peopled with archetypes rather than actual characters. This is plain to see in the dialogue. And the inner dialogue of Turtle. The characters are avatars playing the part of the oppressor, victim, the experienced, the naive, and so on.

Certainly, understand why many will balk at the sexual content that is used as the driving force of the story. This happens whether or not one wants to have to deal with it, either in real life or in a piece of entertainment. Facing ugly things is never pleasant. The power of this book are those tender moments that happen in the worst of circumstances even to the most hardened of characters like Turtle.

Disturbing? Hell yeah! But isn't that what the best of the arts accomplish by making us face the ugly? It makes the beautiful all the more so.

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cedaranna
Jun 21, 2018

cedaranna thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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CrazyBookLover
Dec 04, 2017

CrazyBookLover thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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