[REVIEW] My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent @4thEstateBooks

Let’s get the basic stuff out of the way: you have either heard of this book, seen its cover or seen Stephen King recommending it on Twitter. There’s no doubt that My Absolute Darling is the debut everyone has heard about. This book has wonderful writing and heart-pounding action in it.

Front of UK proof copy [Limited edition]

‘If Turtle hadn’t known, she could’ve told that Martin had the gun just from the way he wore his flannel,  just from the way he took his seat, but neither Principal Green nor Anna thinks of it; they do not even know such things are possible, and Turtle wonders if there are things that she is blind to that other people can see, and what those things might be.’

Told in the narrative style which isn’t solely focused on our main character but on her experiences we meet Julia ‘Turtle’ Alveston a fourteen year old girl who lives with her manipulative, gun-loving father Martin in a secluded house away from the gaze of other people. Turtle isn’t a regular kid because being raised by Martin makes her something else – something special. She has a passion for guns just like her father and views on women among other things. She can shoot a gun and has the ability to tell the difference between types of guns but when it comes to things like school and socializing she struggles. Her father is a very bad man who abuses her both psychologically and physically. One day she wanders off to the woods to get her mind off things and has an encounter with two boys that will put her in danger and in constant fear of her father. Will she find the courage to escape her father or will she always be his absolute darling?

Back of UK proof copy [Limited Edition]

‘She nods at this, but still she doesn’t get it, knows what it has done to her, the grief of it, the way it ate into her bones, but there had been no fear, and she does not understand-fear of what?-and looks at him and knows, really knows, how little she understands him.’

Spine of UK proof copy [Limited Edition]

This is an exceptionally well-written debut novel worth every praise. The story itself is very interesting and it immediately grabs your attention which is always a good thing. The characters are well developed especially our main character and her thoughts. The character of Martin Alveston is honestly one of the most heinous characters I’ve read in fiction because of his actions and even though he’s very intelligent there’s not a single good thing about him that can be said.  I did have a few issues with the book because I thought that certain events in it could’ve been better developed and I know that the author meant for us to feel empathetic towards Turtle but somehow I didn’t feel that way. Don’t jump to conclusions yet what I mean is that her thought process is twisted (credit goes to her father) and because of that I sometimes found her hard to understand and that’s where my perspective of her as a character changed  but towards the end I felt scared for her. My issues aside I still enjoyed reading this book and was amazed as the story progressed. It’s very important to say that the way a child is raised definitely determines whether he/she will live a normal and healthy life and I love how this book makes you want to discuss it with someone and analyze it.

Inside of UK proof copy [Limited Edition]

If you’ve seen the comparisons to A Little Life then I don’t know what to say because it’s nothing like A Little Life and both books are very different – they only share a theme which is abuse. My Absolute Darling is something completely different and hard to read at times but still very rewarding and thought-provoking.

I would very much like to thank the publisher (4thEstate) for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: *

*it’s hard to rate this book because it’s between a 4 and 4.5 stars for me.

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Gabriel Tallent was born in New Mexico and raised on the Mendocino coast by two mothers. He received his B.A. from Willamette University in 2010, and after graduation spent two seasons leading youth trail crews in the backcountry of the Pacific Northwest. Tallent lives in Salt Lake City.

Find him on: GoodReads and Instagram

26 thoughts on “[REVIEW] My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent @4thEstateBooks

  1. Excellent review! I’ve heard it can be compared to The Marsh King’s Daughter and I loved that one ;-). I have the idea that there definitely are similarities in what the main character experiences and how they both love a monster, until a certain point :-). This sounds amazing, so lucky you got a paper copy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had heard of this book at all until Annie @ The Misstery reviewed it yesterday. I went straight to NG to request it and after reading your review, which excellent btw. I’m glad I did! And I’m also glad it’s nothing like A Little Life because that book, I didn’t enjoy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re so right, I’ve heard quite a bit about this one, it sounds brilliant! I think I’ll have to see if it’s still on Netgalley. Great review! 🙂


  4. It might just be that I have been living under a rock, but I hadn’t heard about this title before… Oops? xD After reading your review I can definitely deserve the love for it though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just from reading Annie’s review and now seeing yours, I am more convinced that I need to read this one.At first I thought the themes would be too heavy especially since there is abuse but I think its a book that I would like. The characterization sounds great. Fab review.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m happy to see another positive review of My Absolute Darling. It’s a book I’ve really looked forward to, but had heard from a couple others that the abuse was too hard to take. Between you and Annie, I now feel prepared.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Whoa! Everyone here has heard of the book and I am sitting here like a caveman, not knowing anything apart from what I gathered from your review. And honestly, I can understand the hype. I mean, with soo many crappy storylines and bad writing out there, people are bound to get excited when something like this comes up. Great review! I am definitely reading this one, no matter what. 😁😁

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry for the delay, haven’t been on this week! Amazing review, I think our feelings with Turtle are similar. She wasn’t easy to like but I think that’s pretty normal under the circumstances…I mean, she’s had it tough. I didn’t expect her to be different! Such a harrd read!

    Liked by 1 person

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