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."--
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2017
ISBN: 9780735211179
0735211175
Branch Call Number: FIC TALLENT 2017
Characteristics: 417 pages ; 24 cm

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orangelibrarycard
Feb 24, 2020

This book should have ended at Turtle's destruction of the bed and other furniture in her father's house, and her realizing she needed to get out. So odd that the author had the father come back home and not mention it.

I really hoped/thought that the abuse and torture would end with the 3 scenes early in the book. Didn't happen. This book is hard to read, but the descriptions of nature, and Turtle's
talented, strong, smart, but damaged personality kept me going.

High tight ponytail mentioned 4 times in one section. Why was author using brand names? That girl pulled on her Levi's a dozen times in the book, and I finally had to look up "Carhartt."

You have to be a Gilmore fan to endure the banter between the two high school boys. Erudite and fun to read passage, but has the author ever been a 14-year-old boy? Were there really boys like that in high school?

Sex scenes... didn't need to be described so well, almost as if the author relished them.
The ending was sloppy and totally unlike the rest of the book. I do not recommend to anyone.

k
kelliyfults
Feb 09, 2020

Yes, it is brutal. But there is sooo much beauty. The beauty of the natural world, the beauty of love that can only be felt when it skips a generation... the beauty of friendship between someone damaged and someone idealistic. The beauty of someone distrustful finding the trustworthy...The beauty of pure tenaciousness.. If you are someone who can watch a climate change documentary, which shows the brutal truth of what life can throw living creatures, you can probably get through to the small hopefulness at the end of this story. I loved it, even when I cringed. ( I CAN see that abuse survivors might find this story re-opens some wounds) If you are lucky enough to only have been dealt the normal tragedies and trials of life, I highly recommend this book...So much writing talent from this young man-

m
Motorod
Jul 13, 2019

Ugh.
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.

e
ehiner
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.

s
Synnove_S
Feb 27, 2019

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

m
mlegates
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.

f
Frey29
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.

e
ednabw
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.

m
mbenavent
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.

t
tuckerandzahra
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.

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cedaranna
Jun 21, 2018

cedaranna thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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CrazyBookLover
Dec 04, 2017

CrazyBookLover thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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