My Absolute Darling

My Absolute Darling

Book - 2017
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"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"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Riverhead Books,, 2017.
ISBN: 9780735211179
Characteristics: 417 pages


From the critics

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Jul 13, 2019

I think I hate this book.
(weeks later)
No, It's official. I truly despise this book.
I can't finish it. It's ugly and awful, and not in a good way, like ones from some other authors.
- (Finally) -
I'm returning this. I'm never going to finish it. There's no place for humanity here. The whole "women must be tough to survive" and "female hero springs from abused background" nonsense is a misogynist trope. I will avoid this author in the future.

Jul 08, 2019

Your mileage will vary based on your willingness to accept the subject matter. I finished it. To say I "enjoyed" it would be generous. It's more accurate to say that there are aspects of it worth appreciating (Turtle's relationship with her grandfather, her slow shift in internal narration as her character develops) but the overall narrative is unstable.

Its depictions of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional) oscillate between irritatingly understated (the abuser is a charming guy who people generally trust, and this isn't explored as much as it should be) to being way, way over the top (the quarter scene—and readers will know which one I mean—reads like an edge-lord high schooler's *idea* of "extreme abuse" as opposed to what people actually experience). And (slight spoiler), I hated that Turtle's arch only kicks into gear with the use of the "someone to fight for" trope. It weakens the importance of her survival story.

Thematically, I finished this one unsure of whether I was supposed to be sickened or inspired or just glad it was over. I think I see what he (the author) was trying to do, but I think he missed the mark. When you tackle subjects like this, they really should be handled with more care and restraint. This author has a lot of talent—his prose is gripping. But he comes across as someone who speaks well about things with which he has zero experience with and insight on.

Feb 27, 2019

yes it's difficult and brutal. I still found it gripping and could not put it down

Feb 10, 2019

I agree completely with Frey29. This is a sadistic, dreadful book. It's suspenseful at times, but also ponderous. Not worth the time.

Jan 27, 2019

This is not just a "difficult read." This is about child rape, child-abuse (physical, emotional, and sexual) and hopelessness. Everything about this book is angry--even the teenage heroine's persistent negative self-talk (to the point of abuse.) In the end, these characters leave the story so messed up you question their future. And, the writer doesn't just leave loose ends...she's looking for a sequal. What does the reader get out of this except a peak into the abuse and disfunction of a very messed up family? Regardless of previous reviews...there is nothing in this book to help one recognize or assist abused children, in fact using this as entertainment is rather sick.

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.

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.

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.

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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Jun 21, 2018

cedaranna thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Dec 04, 2017

CrazyBookLover thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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