INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
LA TIMES BOOK PRIZE FINALIST
NBCC JOHN LEONARD PRIZE FINALIST
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES'S MOST NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2017
ONE OF THE WASHINGTON POST’S MOST NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2017
ONE OF NPR’S ‘GREAT READS’ OF 2017
A USA TODAY BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
AN AMAZON.COM BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A BUSINESS INSIDER BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
"Impossible to put down." —NPR
"A novel that readers will gulp down, gasping.” —The Washington Post
"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. What follows is a harrowing story of bravery and redemption. With Turtle's escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, the reader watches, heart in throat, as this teenage girl 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Gabriel Tallent’s debut is dark, disturbing, and brilliantly written. Isolated in the California woods, teenager Julia “Turtle” Alveston lives a traumatic existence with her violent, manipulative father Martin. Tallent’s novel includes visceral, challenging scenes of sexual and psychological abuse, but the book’s two main characters are unforgettable—and hope emerges when Turtle turns the lessons Martin’s taught her against him. My Absolute Darling is a superbly tense psychological thriller.
Customer ReviewsSee All
My Absolute Darling ... Dazzles
Gobsmacked by this book from the first page to the last, I reeled emotionally and in awe of the artistry of the author. I’ve never read another book like My Absolute Darling — a truly original “delight,” albeit a twisted and anguishing read. Tallent’s gift for environmental and character detail recalls Steinbeck at his glorious best; the northwest coast of California staggeringly cast in the light and dark of area’s flora and fauna.
The title belies content that is not for the squeamish. The author serves up a grindingly jaw clenching and finally explosive tension that is spellbinding and — reader be warned, deeply disturbing. That said, I relished this exquisitely crafted novel.
This isn’t a book just anyone can pick up and read. The writing style is appsaling but does require a bit more concentration than the average book to read. Not for the faint of heart. Wonderful story line. It completely engrossed me.
This young girl appears to suffer from some form of Stockholm syndrome, believing the sexual abuse by her father is warranted, which is always sad. But the author seems to describe the sexual encounters very casually,implying that the 14 year old girl yearns for or even enjoys it. Only a man could paint this picture that even a molestation or rape holds some sort of pleasure for a woman which I find offensive. It’s very confusing and disgusting. An inappropriate story I could’ve definitely done without...