It’s hard to describe Gabriel Tallent’s debut novel My Absolute Darling without using a ton of “buts” and “ands.”
It’s a breathtaking debut novel, but it’s absolutely brutal and one of the most painful stories you’ll read this year. But despite that, it’s almost impossible to put down once you’ve started reading.
My Absolute Darling follows Turtle Alveston, a 14-year-old girl living in the woods of North California with her father Martin. Turtle is strong and adventurous, and though she has free reign of the forest around her, her world is largely one of isolation. Turtle’s mother is dead, her grandfather is a drunk, and she pushes away any and all attempts at friendship at school.
Instead she spends most of her time with her father, who she loves more than anyone else … despite the tremendous abuse she suffers at his hands.
However, things start to change when Turtle meets Jacob, a high school boy she runs into in the woods one day. Smart, boisterous, and naive, Jacob pops the bubble of the closed off world that Turtle inhabits, resulting in an unforgettable tale of one girl’s struggle to save herself from unimaginable abuse.
This month, Gabriel Tallent’s My Absolute Darling is our official MashReads book club selection! We hope you’ll join us in discussing this book.
Also, on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 12:30 p.m. ET, Tallent himself will help us kick off our online conversation by joining us on Facebook Live to chat about My Absolute Darling. Make sure you follow MashReads on Facebook to join.
Then finally, on Thursday, Oct 12. at 6:30 p.m. ET, MashReads will be hosting an IRL book club meetup to discuss My Absolute Darling. You can RSVP here.
We can’t wait to hear what you think of the novel.
Warning: My Absolute Darling contains scenes of graphic abuse and sexual violence, and may not be suitable for all readers.