There are some novels that you might describe as hard hitting and then there is My Absolute Darling. So brutal, so visceral, that you don’t think you’ll ever manage to come up for air. If you’re willing to take the plunge then this may be one of the best books of 2018.
I had this book on my TBR (to be read) list for many many months and just when it seemed like it wasn’t going to make in to my blog this year, it popped up in a three for two offer at Waterstones so I decided to go for it.
Turtle is a fourteen year old girl who lives with her sadistic psychopath of a father. The two have an incredibly complex relationship. Turtle knows that she wants to be free but at the same time loves her father more than anything in the world. Turtle’s life is unlike that of her peers. She lives in a house in the back of beyond which her father has let go to rack and ruin. Her dad teaches her to shoot a gun and his belief in the impending apocalypse means that she has been taught survival skills beyond anything taught in girl guides.
Each day Turtle takes a bus into school where she is disinterested and that she feels disenfranchised with. She has no friends, but she isn’t bullied, she just doesn’t care for the inane concerns of her classmates. But Turtle’s life is about to be turned upside down when she meets Brett and Jacob in the woods. Neither of them knows quite what to expect, but unlikely firnedships begin to blossom and nothing is going to be the same again.
Make no mistakes, this is a dark and disturbing book and if you don’t want to read about abuse then this is one to avoid altogether. But there is more to this story than just that. Tallent lets us into the mind of his remarkable protagonist and she tells her story on her own terms. Honest and seeringly painful, this is My Absolute Darling. Read it if you dare.
Next week I will be waving goodbye to this blog. Thank you for staying with me for 2018! Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie is going to be the last ever book on the blog. See you next Monday for one last review!