A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR • A GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR • A METRO BOOK OF THE YEAR
‘The year’s must read novel’ The Times
‘One of the most important books you’ll pick up this decade’ Harper’s Bazaar
‘An outstanding book that could be this year’s A Little Life’ Guardian
‘You think you’re invincible. You think you won’t ever miss. We need to put the fear on you. You need to surrender yourself to death before you ever begin, and accept your life as a state of grace, and then and only then will you be good enough.’
At 14, Turtle Alveston knows the use of every gun on her wall;
That chaos is coming and only the strong will survive it;
That her daddy loves her more than anything else in this world.
And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her with him.
She doesn’t know why she feels so different from the other girls at school;
Why the line between love and pain can be so hard to see;
Why making a friend may be the bravest and most terrifying thing she has ever done
And what her daddy will do when he finds out …
Sometimes strength is not the same as courage.
Sometimes leaving is not the only way to escape.
Sometimes surviving isn't enough.
‘This book has challenged me like no other. It’s a masterpiece. A work of art on a page. I guarantee this book will take your breath away’ Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
‘Brutal yet beautiful, My Absolute Darling has floored me. Dear Turtle, a heroine amidst the horror. Exceptional, unflinching storytelling’ Ali Land, author of Good Me Bad Me
‘An incandescent novel with an extraordinary, unforgettable heroine, both deeply contemplative and utterly thrilling’ Observer – Thriller of the month
‘There are echoes of Ma’s bravery in Emma Donoghue’s Room, or the resilience of Cormac McCarthy’s protagonists as they struggle to stay alive. Tallent’s world is shocking in the truest sense of the word’ Irish Times
‘An utterly fantastic read. Every page is brimming with energy. And Turtle Alveston is as enthralling a character as I’ve encountered in a good long while’ Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds
About the author
Gabriel Tallent was born in New Mexico and raised on the Mendocino coast by two mothers. He received his B.A. from Willamette University in 2010, and after graduation spent two seasons leading youth trail crews in the backcountry of the Pacific Northwest. Tallent lives in Salt Lake City.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Gabriel Tallent’s debut is dark, discomfiting and brilliantly written. Isolated in Californian woodland, teenager Julia “Turtle” Alveston lives a traumatic existence with her violent, manipulative father Martin. There are ugly, disturbing scenes of sexual and psychological abuse but Tallent builds two unforgettable characters in the damaged, resilient Turtle and her monstrous father—and hope emerges when Turtle turns the lessons Martin’s taught her against him. A visceral, challenging study of abuse, My Absolute Darling is also a superbly tense psychological thriller.
Room meets Rambo in this emotionally fraught first novel. Fourteen-year old Julia "Turtle" Alveston is growing up in Northern California, near Mendocino, under the overprotective eye of her abusive father, Martin, who, for all intents and purposes treats her like they live in a two-person survivalist camp he teaches her how to shoot and hunt in the wild, and abuses and sexually molests her. Even though she goes to school, Turtle feels cut off from her fellow middle-school students until the day she meets Jacob, a high school student whose sudden appearance in her life forces her to question for the first time the way she's being raised. Martin adds a new member to the family, which forces Turtle to make a bold move to keep his history of abuse from repeating itself, leading to a suspenseful and bloody climax at a teenage house party. In Turtle, Tallent has crafted a resourceful and resilient character. Unfortunately, Martin is such an obvious psycho creep that readers will wonder why the characters he interacts with Turtle's teachers, a friend from the old days don't see through him. Jacob, too, in the dialogue the author puts in his mouth, doesn't sound like a real teenager. In the end, though, Turtle's story is harrowingly visceral.
Gritty, Shocking, Raw, Sad
This book was an incredible account of a young girl with no mum and a violent dad with is both terrifying and had an all consuming love hate relationship with his child , overbearing love spills over into total control and ownership and all types of abuse ;Poor , unwitting Turtle has a very unorthodox upbringing and knows no different and despite it all fiercely loves her father, coming of age and growing up puts conflicting thoughts in her head about her feelings and the story unravels from here .
Gripping and horrifying but with a wonderful prose and description of where she lives and the terrain and very little day to day task are wonderful described and brought to life . Have a dictionary handy
Awesome and atmospheric
What an amazing book! The descriptions and details take you right there, like you’re watching the terrible tale unfold from ten feet away. Great characters, great story, never shying away from the delicate nature of the tale. An awesome first novel.