My Absolute Darling

My Absolute Darling

By Gabriel Tallent

  • Release Date: 2017-08-29
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 207 Ratings
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"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.


  • Horriable

    By Jenobeno
    This story starts out well, and then just drags I can’t believe this is a top seller. It’s just painful to try and read beyond chapter 8. Don’t waste your time or money
  • Incredibly Amazing!!

    By Deealegre
    Wow, I have never read anything like this. So well, written, so gripping, intense, interesting! Really really good!! Fascinating...I could hardly put it down! Would love a follow up novel and see how Turtle heals and what she winds Up doing in life!! Thank you for helping me to understand such a different part of life.
  • Disturbing

    By njmobile
    This is such a real, horrifying story of abuse & I couldn't put it down.
  • Don't start if you can't read straight thru....

    By 56rodeo
    One of the best I've read in a long time. Sure, you think you know where it's all heading - but you'll never guess how it gets there!! The flora and fauna place you in a backdrop you've seen but never experienced so intimately. A breathtaking thriller you'll have trouble forgetting.
  • Meh.

    By ¡Nikky!
    It was just okay. I got hooked in with the great ratings, but the writing is a little shoddy. There would be moments throughout where the characters suddenly had something in their hands not mentioned before, or the plot would jump without transitions leaving readers confused. The descriptions of nature were very, very specific. I understand why it was written like this, as the characters were very well informed of their surroundings, but for the average reader, it becomes easy to get lost in the over description and the names of every plant in the characters' field of view.
  • Brilliant

    By tahllllllllllllllllllllll
    Dark and disturbing - definitely not for the faint of heart. But if you're someone who is okay knowing the gritty details and realities of this world, and you're someone who loves seeing people get EXACTLY what they deserve, then this book is 100% for you. It's immersive, intense, and you won't be able to put it down.
  • You'll be hooked after the "sample"

    By Moose23480:)
    Well worth the read. Dark but engrossing. It will catch your interest immediately and gets better right to the end, with a uniquely off-kilter writing style at times.
  • My absolute darling

    By Nina@310
    Miserable book. Would not finish; was literally making me sick to my stomach.
  • Dark

    By Kseach
    Really dark and depressing. Wish there was more closure, it just ends.
  • Gripping

    By Auggie's Man
    An amazing book. Putting it down was painful and had to get back to it as son as I could.