My Absolute Darling

My Absolute DarlingMy Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
Published by Riverhead Books on August 29th 2017
Pages: 417
ISBN: 0735211175
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**This book may have some triggers for some as it deals with sexual, physical and emotional abuse of a minor

It’s obvious why readers are so polarized on this book. This book is about physical, emotional and sexual abuse of a fourteen-year-old girl by her father. It’s not an easy read and may will be turned off by it. Hell, we all should be turned off by it!

Turtle Alveston is a fourteen-year-old girl living with her survivalist father in Northern California (her Mother is Dead). She knows the land and has no problem going out into the forest exploring on her own and is quite handy with a gun. She can survive off the land, but can she survive within her father’s home? A home in which each morning, before leaving for school, she throws her father a beer and let’s not forget in the beginning of the book we learn he puts their dishes out to be licked clean by raccoons before running a little water on them to be used again.

At school Turtle is isolated and withdrawn. She is quiet and lacks friends. She struggles with her studies and although she will be passed on to high school it is evident that she is far behind her peers. Turtle has low self-esteem and self-loathing.

Martin, her father, is a rough man. He refers to Turtle as his “absolute darling” and is systematically physically, emotionally and sexually abusive to her. ” Goddamn Turtle, Goddamn” He is a man of great depravity and it is alarming that no one seems to suspect anything wrong is going on in that house.

As Turtle ventures out into the world, she is introduced to many people and begins to see a very different type of life far opposite than the life she has with her misogynist controlling abusive father. With hopes of a better life, will she have the strength and courage to break free and finally be able to live her own life?

One complaint about this book is that some of the scenes to me feels as if they were put in there for the shock value. Abuse in all forms is graphic, shocking and horrific but some of the scenes in the book felt, I don’t quite know how to put my finger on it, but something about how it was presented felt off. Books such as “The Roanoke Girls” or “The Marsh King’s Daughter” came to mind while reading this book. I feel that those two books were able to pull off what this book could not – a more believable viewpoint on survival-ism (The Marsh King’s Daughter) and sick twisted relationships with molestation (The Roanoke girls)

No matter what you think of this book, it has people talking, and I believe that was the Author’s intention. When a book causes you to think of other books while reading it; well that can be a good thing or a bad thing. In this case, I thought of books that handled the subject matter better.