My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

I read about My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent on a Waterstones email and I knew I just had to read it. So I ordered it and picked it up the next day.

A friend of mine described it as ‘brutal’ and she wasn’t far wrong. Luckily, I like a brutal book, especially one which oozes as much quality as My Absolute Darling does.

14 year old Turtle Alveston lives alone with her father. She doesn’t have any friends and doesn’t like other girls or women. She can shoot the smallest of objects from a distance and dismantle a gun and put it back together like an expert. She knows she’s ugly and says she has a ‘bitch face’.

But she loves her daddy more than anything and she knows her daddy loves her.  Even if he does sometimes hurt her. Everything about Turtle’s relationship with her father is brutal, right from the way they cook to the shooting practise her father makes her do.

Turtle doesn’t know why her teacher is so interested in her. She has a feeling that her life may be different from other kids’ lives, she just doesn’t know how different. Then Turtle makes friends with two boys and has an inkling of what life might be life with friends, a clean and tidy home and a caring family.

Will Turtle ever leave her daddy and find a happiness she didn’t know existed?

My Absolute Darling is a brilliant read. It reminds me of a cross between The Glass Castle and a Donna Tartt novel. It is incredible to think that it is a debut novel. But it is definitely not for everyone. There are many very disturbing scenes in the book. But if you can cope with a disturbing book, it really is well worth a read. I don’t think I will read a better book for a long time.

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent, My Absolute Darling, Book review, Gabriel Tallent


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I’m glad you liked it! I found it over-the-top in its brutality, prurient really. Well written but left a bad taste in my mouth.

    But interested to know what you make of Transcription when you get round to buying it! (I don’t buy many books – in fact I think it might be the only one I’ve bought all year, as the library is ridiculously handy and I can have up to 50 items out at a time and unlimited holds)

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    • Even though it was dark and horrible, I didn’t actually find it over-the-top. I thought it was brilliant.
      I buy nearly all of my books – I just borrow a few from a friend. I haven’t been to a library in years, but a friend who goes to the library in Birmingham is number 101 on the list for Lethal White and 50 on the list for Transcription. I wonder which of us will manage to read it first!

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  2. Sounds like it could actually be quite a difficult read for some but maybe an important message to be heard within! Thanks for sharing with #readwithme

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    • It’s definitely not an easy read, but for people who like a challenging book, it’s absolutely brilliant.

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    • The brutality definitely isn’t for everyone! I like to read books like this every now and then and thought this was a really high quality read.

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  3. I really like the sound of this book. I’m going to add to my Goodreads list so I don’t forget to get it.

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    • You will have to let me know what you think! I think it’s brilliant.

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  4. I’m not really sure I’d enjoy a brutal book but the story does sound interesting. #readwithme

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    • I’m not sure ‘enjoy’ is the right word, but I do like to read books like this from time to time. It’s really well-written too.

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