My Absolute Darling is a book about violence and should be regarded as such. The core of this book revolves around an abusive doomsday prepping, gun slinging psychopath and his severely warped 14-year old daughter Turtle, as she tries to navigate herself away from the grasp of torture and "messed-up-love" he has for her. They live together in a dilapidated house in a coastal town in the forests of northern California where Turtle is raised to be obsessed with guns and self-loathing in equal measure. Gabriel Tallent balances the extreme violence Turtle experiences with tender descriptions of the natural world around her and also occasionally of her actions. At times this both diffuses the tension and at other times heightens it. My Absolute Darling urges you to care, to invest in the capacity you have to do more and preserve what you already have and already are and is a difficult tense book that demands a lot from you but is ultimately rewarding.
"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"--