My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (5 out of 5)

I failed my Penguin Random house rep, Stefan. He told me this was great, and I relegated it to my living room table pile. I tried to read this three times in the past 7 weeks. June, July, and August have been a mass of upheaval, exhaustion, and change. With extra exhaustion for me. I read one book in the past eight days. One book? Moi? You may as well call Kim Kardashian a whore, for you know…. This is NOT like me at all. I read 5-9 a week most of the time. The only time that grinds to a screaching weasel halt is if I’m depressed or exhausted. Worry not, folks…it’s exhaustion. I’m back on the path of the zealous. I got two read today on my only day off. Hopefully can keep that momentum going! 

Anyway, Stefan, you were right. I absolutely dug this book. I like the cover, although for some reason, I kept visualizing shoeless clowns eating McDonalds in the jungle every time I examined it in detail. THAT is a disturbing image. There are moments in this book where you are disturbed. Or, if you read books like I do, it makes you more determined to finish it and see how it plays out. I implore you to stay with it. Three words to describe it? Deep, dark at times, and visceral. 

Turtle Alveston is a 14-year old tough cookie. She reminded me a lot of Scout from “To Kill A Mockingbird”, but more introspective. Turtle does her ruminating in private, quietly mourning her mother’s death and isolated from civilization and social niceties and nuances by her tortured and enigmatic father. Of course, a boy enters the picture and the frame goes crashing to the ground. Turtle begins to realize from her “relationship” with Jacob that her relationship with her dad is not safe and not conducive for a healthy life for her beyond the current moment. Turtle begins to break out of her shell (pardon the pun) with acts of physical and emotional rebellion, and the upheaval that follows is nothing short of realistic and heart-wrenching. But betcha by golly wow, you ROOT for her to get out and away from her dad’s mercurial thumb. This book is not for wussies. If you want that, go read your Nicholas Sparks and knit your kitten hats. I prefer the stuff of real, true life turmoil and familial tension. Done and done with this book! I’m not kidding, Scout is probably my favorite fiction kid character in a long time. I should say teen, but I have terrible flashbacks of Haim and Hanson, so I will refrain. Tallent lives up to his name and writes a story so fraught with sadness, hope, and spunk that you finish it with a triumphant “Hmph” and hand it over to your closest reading buddy who will get knocked out by what they read. I can’t wait to hand sell it in October! 

“My Absolute Darling” is out, via Riverhead Books, on August 29, 2017. I will be absolutely stunned and pissed if this book isn’t a hit and Tallent doesn’t get the credit he deserves for knocking one out of the park. Well done and then some! 

~ by generationgbooks on August 8, 2017.

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