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My Absolute Darling
My Absolute Darling: A Novel | Gabriel Tallent
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. The reader tracks Turtle's escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, and watches, heart in throat, as she 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.
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kristankremer
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Pickpick

I read this one nonstop for 2 days. It is dark but so good. Very descriptive, so much so that it felt like I was watching a movie. Sometimes that description is horrible because of the scene content, but overall it's hauntingly beautiful. I loved the character development and also the fact that I had no idea how it was going to end. The cover blurb doesn't really prepare you for what you're getting into.

9 likes1 stack add
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kristankremer
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Starting this today. I saw it on a list of "Books to read if you liked Where the Crawdads Sing". When I found it for 50 cents at the library book sale the very next morning, I took it as a sign that this title and I were meant to share some time together.

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rambiepaige
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Starting this one today! 💚

BarbaraBB It‘a such a good read. And sad. And shocking! 2w
rambiepaige @BarbaraBB I am going to need an uplifting book soon then! I just finished Baby Teeth, it was heartbreaking 😭 2w
BarbaraBB This one is definitely not uplifting! 2w
rambiepaige @barbarabb I got 20 pages in, not even to the end of the first chapter, and I had to bail. 😭 2w
BarbaraBB I can imagine, I‘ve heard that a lot. It‘s too hard! 2w
16 likes1 stack add5 comments
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TheSpineView
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Eggs Great choice 👏🏻. Have you read this one? If so do you recommend? 1mo
TheSpineView @Eggs No, I have not yet read. It has been on the TBR list forever and I never seem to get around to it. Sigh.... 1mo
72 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Ange44
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My new #tenatatime #TBR. Number 24. I‘m looking forward to these.

Soubhiville I really like this idea! What a great way to try to read more of your own books! 3mo
BarbaraBB The tagged book is great! 3mo
17 likes2 comments
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Butterflyamore
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My husband picked this up from The Dog Eared Book for me today. I have to admit that I am very tempted to ditch my June TBR stack so I can read this instead!

Soubhiville I liked it, but be prepared for it to be brutal! 3mo
Butterflyamore @Soubhiville I read a few reviews that said the same! I‘m both nervous and excited! 3mo
BarbaraBB I really enjoyed it! 3mo
j.rye Beautiful photo! 3mo
rethier1 The writing is great, but it is indeed very dark. 3mo
84 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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TheLibrarian
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59 likes2 stack adds
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Dellach
Mio assoluto amore | Gabriel Tallent
Pickpick

Adorato. Un po‘ macabro a tratti ma molto coinvolgente.

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MMFinck
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Panpan

Regrettably, no matter how good the writing was, this book was a punishment for me. Way too much description. Turtle‘s rationalizations meandered so much I repeatedly lost interest. Loathed the relentless misogyny. Didn‘t believe Jacob would put up w her abuse. Molesting Cayenne eliminated depth of father-daughter relationship which was ENTIRE premise & made him a plain ole pedophile. I wish I‘d bailed. Glad for its success, but big miss for me.

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MMFinck

Still plowing thru. The writing is phenomenal. I am not using “but” to qualify that because it is indisputably phenomenal. My issue is with how I feel as I read. When I am not sickened and or terrified, I am bored. I don‘t care this much about the details of (so many) guns and settings. The constant misogyny is not easy to deal with even as I understand it and respect the authenticity of it. Anyone else??

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MMFinck
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I just don‘t know... This is a very hard read. It‘s sickening. Terrifying. Stressful. I hope neither the abuse nor its description get any worse. It‘s bad enough already.

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Lisas.Library
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Bailedbailed

After a month of trying I am officially DNFing this book.
DNF
Such an odd book....and I‘m talking about more than just the inappropriate relationship. I‘m putting it down as I have no desire to keep going. I even skipped ahead and still don‘t care enough to keep going.

Coleen_Nieto That helps me a lot. I was on the fence about buying it because everything I read said it was great but I just didn't feel like it was my kind of book 6mo
huntersmom1977 Yea I agree! It‘s not a book for the faint hearted. Kinda wish I opted out of reading it. 6mo
Lisas.Library @Coleen_Nieto @huntersmom1977 ~ It has hard to read content but that really wasn‘t my issue. I guess I didn‘t like the writing. It was hard for me to get invested...I just didn‘t care. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 6mo
91 likes3 comments
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KarenJMcLean
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Pickpick

This was a phenomenal and almost unbearable book. I can understand why it‘s so polarizing. There is a lot of cringe-worthy and downright terrifying material in here. It‘s not for the faint of heart. But it‘s worth it.

I loved the character of Turtle. Not the cussing, hateful, misogynistic young girl who knows and trusts nothing but what her father has been “teaching” her for years — but who she discovers inside herself.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

MMFinck I‘m 3/4 way thru, and it is a chore to keep going. It is bc of reviews like yours that I haven‘t DNRd. The faith I won‘t regret it. Thanks. (edited) 5mo
KarenJMcLean @MMFinck I understand. 5mo
21 likes2 comments
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Purrfectpages
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wordzie 7mo
LorieL 😍😍😍 7mo
73 likes1 stack add2 comments
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KarenJMcLean
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Started reading this last night, after reading about it on @TheLudicReader ‘s blog. The contrast between the beautiful descriptive writing and the gritty material is fascinating.

TheLudicReader This book will stay with you long after you've turned the final page. 7mo
KarenJMcLean @TheLudicReader — Part of me is a little afraid of that! 7mo
14 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Macnjen
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Pickpick

Recently all the books and audiobooks I‘ve been listening to are pretty hard-core, hard to listen to, harsh, savage. This audiobook was well told, but I flinched a lot at the subject matter. Lots of triggers Hi . Rough subject matter. Descriptive writing, but a few of the characters went on tangents which I did not care for.#litsyAtoZ @BookishMarginalia

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Macnjen
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Audiobook choice. Started Column of Fire but realized it‘ll be too confusing and long on audio. #litsyAtoZ challenge

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TheLudicReader
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Well, today is the first day of exam week...but there‘s no school because we had a crazy storm yesterday that has left everything covered in ice. Guess I will just have to stay in my pjs and finish this book. #bummer

Lindy 😉 8mo
14 likes1 comment
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starlight97
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Pickpick

Wow. I don't regret reading this book despite the number of DNFs it got on GoodReads. Hard and powerful and really sad sometimes, but still inspiring in the end. Do not read if you hate books with domestic violence.
I also loved how medically correct it was with fancy words like serosanguinous fluid 😆 oh, and the voice of Alex McKenna...? 💚
⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

Cinfhen I can‘t read this one but thank you for your thoughtful review 8mo
starlight97 @Cinfhen 😊👍 8mo
CoffeeCatsBooks Oh, I hope I end up liking it as much as you! 8mo
starlight97 @CoffeeCatsBooks I hope that too! 8mo
24 likes4 comments
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WanderingBookaneer
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I started 2018 with tagged book. It was a great year for me. I want to start 2019 with a bookish bang. Which book will deliver that?

Tamra I just read this and really enjoyed it! 9mo
vivastory Join the readalong of 9mo
vivastory It's absolutely charming, can be read in one day & it's a great way to kick off the new reading year 9mo
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Bookwormjillk I read Calling Major Tom last week and loved it 9mo
WanderingBookaneer @Tamra : That sounds thrilling! 9mo
WanderingBookaneer @vivastory : I have read that one. It is, indeed, delightful. 9mo
WanderingBookaneer @Bookwormjillk : That sounds right up my alley! 9mo
Readergrrl I read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens last month. Lovely book! 9mo
64 likes8 comments
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heikemarie
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I couldn‘t resist the Book Outlet sale 📚 😬 more than one of these I gifted for the holiday so I am rewarding myself for not keeping them for myself 😉

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BarbaraBB
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Pickpick

Despite the graphic descriptions of abuse and violence I couldn‘t stop reading this book. Against the wilderness of northern California this is the story of the warped love between 14 years old Turtle and her father Martin. He is an erudite but horrible man, who despises current civilization and tries to deny it by living isolated with Turtle, whom he teaches everything he knows, all the skills that they both know will enable her to destroy him.

Cathythoughts Interesting review 👍🏻... I have this one on the shelf here 👍🏻 (edited) 9mo
Texreader Great review. Cool cover 9mo
TrishB I couldn‘t finish this 💔 9mo
See All 8 Comments
BarbaraBB @TrishB I can understand that. Some parts of it are really really disturbing to say the least. 💔 9mo
Kalalalatja Great review! 9mo
Tamra It‘s sort of like not being able to stop looking at a train wreck. I felt like it was well written, but manipulative in the shock value. 9mo
BarbaraBB @Tamra I think you‘re right but it was also kind of tender in the relationships between the various characters. 9mo
readordierachel Great review! This was a rough read but it really stuck with me. 9mo
85 likes3 stack adds8 comments
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Peaceful_Reader
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A friend handed this to me...

BarbaraBB My next read! 9mo
Peaceful_Reader I‘m going to pick this one back up; after a few scenes it proved too much for holiday reading. 9mo
8 likes1 stack add2 comments
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hdhubbard
Pickpick

Didn't expect to pulled into the book so quickly. The author writes about a tough subject with grace and aplomb. Brief moments of humour and beauty in an otherwise brutal book. Enjoyed it, 10 out of 10, would read again.

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sisilia
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Just arrived!!! A giveaway that I won from 4th Estate Books 🤗

WanderingBookaneer An unusual book, but I loved it. 10mo
DivineDiana 👏🏻📚👏🏻 10mo
69 likes2 comments
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smccallum
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I‘ve been dealing with a super intense slump, this post graduating 20s stuff is unsettling 🙈, but trying to get on it with a recommendation from the mother so hopefully I can get back into regular readings and the wonderful world that is Litsy ☺️

innah96 How are you enjoying this one? 10mo
Hestapleton This was one of my post-graduation 20s stuff books too! It made me want to just run into the forest. 10mo
49 likes2 comments
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TheLudicReader
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A little rainy day book buying. Not that I need an excuse. Two for my classroom library (King & Roe), one for my bookclub (George), one because I have really been wanting to read it (Tallent - anyone read it?), and one impulse purchase (Haslett). Oh, who am I kidding - they are ALL impulse purchases. I don‘t NEED any of them.

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chelreads
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Mehso-so

To call this book dark and twisted would be an understatement! I found myself cringing several times throughout my reading of this book. It is truly heartbreaking to know that abuse like this happens everyday. 😔 #80in18

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Addison_Reads
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Pickpick

This book is not for everyone. It is graphic and dark and contains very vivid descriptions of sexual abuse. So please keep that in mind if you choose to try it. I almost gave up on it a few times, but I'm glad I stuck with it. There is redemption and hope in the end for Turtle. This is a raw, heartbreaking, emotional story and Turtle is a character I will not forget.

readordierachel I still think about this one sometimes, but I struggled with it too. 12mo
Addison_Reads @readordierachel It is probably one of my toughest reads ever, but sometimes you need a book like that to shake you to your core. 12mo
16 likes2 comments
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Stephkesey
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Panpan

Ok. I started out enthralled by the language, the northern Cali landscape, the promise of a Katniss Everdeen, and an examination of incest and sexual trauma. He is a sensitive writer, but the last scene illustrates that, in the end, he didn‘t “get” his subject matter. He turned a deep psychological matter into a thriller. It “makes sense” w/in the world he‘s created but misses the nuances of Turtle‘s interiority, which does survivors a disservice.

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SBoos
Pickpick

While no shortage of opinions on this book exists, I found it to be a compelling and emotional read. This novel, while certainly not for every reader, is filled with interesting characters, lush imagery, and provocative themes. Personally I'm glad I stuck with this through the conclusion. Those looking for a lighthearted, fun read or who might be triggered by depictions of an abusive parent-child relationship should pass over this one.

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m.galehuxley
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I finished this one last night. I can see why some people bailed and had a hard time getting through. The subject matter was rough, but I don‘t think the author was excessive with the details.

I enjoyed it and loved Turtle‘s character. It also made me realize how little I know about nature, especially what surrounds me here in Georgia.

33 likes1 stack add
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Kempii
Pickpick

Gah! What a raw, horrifying, intense novel. Powerful and heavy. The protagonist's nickname is Turtle, but the book is not cute in any way. To say that this book features a difficult father-daughter relationship falls laughably short of the incredible intensity and horror of the family dynamic told in gruesome detail. I highly recommend it, but be prepared for a disturbing tale. The title makes me cringe after reading it.

16 likes2 stack adds
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TrishB
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Well I‘ve only seen three (not a big film buff!) so Dear Simon probably
Out with hubby, meal in fav place and champagne 🍾
6
Tagged.....couldn‘t stomach finishing.
Will do. It‘s unhappy Friday for me as back to work on Monday!!!
#friyayintro

Cathythoughts Champagne 🍾 sounds good 13mo
merelybookish I finished that book but HATED it! 13mo
Mamashep Champagne is always a good idea! 13mo
See All 6 Comments
TrishB @Cathythoughts @Mamashep it always helps 😁 13mo
TrishB @merelybookish I just couldn‘t bring myself to finish it! 13mo
tammysue Yay for champagne! 😁 13mo
98 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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HeatherBlue
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Our hotel in San Francisco is super sketchy, so here‘s a picture of a book I got thanks to an employee review card in Booksmith 🖤

Cathythoughts I have this one on the shelf waiting.... 💙 13mo
52 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Hestapleton
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Pickpick

Work has been super slow and I devoured this in two days. The writing is stunning and heavy—it saturates you. When the pace picks up in the last quarter of the book, I could feel my heart racing to see how Turtle does, if she really is okay. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Waterstones
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Pickpick

Our Fiction book for July is the brutal and powerful My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent. This shocking, challenging novel is already being heralded as one of the best books of the year. Certainly not for the feint of heart, this dark, mesmerising book explores the psychology around love and abuse with lyrical prose that pulls you through the narrative.

#bookofthemonth #waterstones

9 likes1 stack add
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SBoos
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Picked this up at the airport because of the lovely cover and NY Times Bestseller brag. Only a handful of pages in, but super interested to see how it goes after reading some of the online criticism. Also definitely not going to be a lovely read in terms of subject matter. 😣

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JenP
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Panpan

Nope. The level of detail around the abuse was repulsive and I almost had to stop. I found this extremely unpleasant reading. And the dialogue... teenagers don‘t actually talk like this.

my daughter picked this out for me to read based on the “pretty cover.” It‘s the least “pretty” thing I think I‘ve ever read.

BarbaraBB Glad to have that out of the way 😀😘 1y
Abailliekaras It is a good cover though! Not tempted to read this. 1y
TrishB I bailed . 1y
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JulAnna Good to know, removed from TBR 1y
JenP @TrishB I came very close to it. 1y
Burghbookaddict Yeah its bad. Idk why it got so much hype. 1y
Julsmarshall Yep, took this one off my TBR based on reviews similar to yours. Life is too short to read bad books! 1y
BibliOphelia Ha! Also took this off my TBR based on similar reviews. 1y
ReadingRover Totally agree! I bailed. (edited) 1y
JenP @ReadingRover I should have done that but I thought it would get better. 1y
ReadingRover @JenP Believe it or not I listened to it. It wasn‘t even the vulgarity that made me stop. It was the drawn out dullness that I couldn‘t take. I just couldn‘t sit through over 10 hours of it. 1y
BookishMe The several triggers I heard about, made me decide against reading this. I am surprised how popular this is, among certain groups of readers including book bloggers 1y
65 likes12 comments
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JenP
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I told my daughter she could pick out my next book from my bookshelf bc I need to clear some room and am feeling indecisive. This was her pick - based solely on the cover. I‘ve been avoiding this one for a while bc of the subject matter 😬

Beckys_Books Is this YA? 1y
vivastory I was just thinking earlier that I want to read this soon. BTW I mailed your package today. So sorry about the delay! 1y
JenP @vivastory don‘t worry about it. I just sent mine out. 1y
See All 9 Comments
JenP @Beckys_Books no and it‘s very dark. 1y
Burghbookaddict Honestly I only read a few chapters before I couldn't deal with it anymore. Its boring and gross. 1y
JenP @laurenashley that is my concern 1y
merelybookish I hated this book for so many reasons! 1y
Yeah_I_Read It was definitely intense 😬 1y
Mdargusch Great cover though! 1y
56 likes2 stack adds9 comments
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katherinedelores
Mehso-so

Admittedly I skimmed most of this book, which says a lot about it. Though as the book went along I found myself rooting for Turtle, despite the fact that she was coarse, abrasive, and oftentimes unlikeable. A few moments made me look away in disgust, and I can see how some think Tallent is glorifying abuse. I‘m glad Turtle got her hopeful ending.

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katherinedelores
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This one‘s starting slow for me, but my friend suggested giving every book 100 pages and it‘s finally picking up. It‘s a good read while a storm rolls in ⚡️⚡️

8 likes1 stack add
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Expandingbookshelf
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Panpan

This book is about a father raping his teenage daughter. I have read brilliant books about sexual abuse, but I‘ve never read a book so invested in romanticizing sexual violence. I know many people liked this book so I‘ll just say that I found the book to be incredibly exploitative and male-gazey. I‘ve never felt more aware that a DUDE wrote this female character who goes on and on about her engorged pussy. I hated this book. I‘m still infuriated.

TrishB I just bailed, but had very similar feelings. 1y
Notafraidofwords I‘m glad someone is speaking the truth about this book. 1y
8 likes2 comments
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Ashlee2
Pickpick

Haunting and very moving story.

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SaraHasClass
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Mehso-so

This is a terrifying book about survival & the worst kind of abuse. It's dark narrative, course language & disgusting acts are punctuated by beauty & a soul's desire to survive. It's heartbreaking & well written, but I almost couldn't get through it due to the subject. I also found the pacing slow at times.

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ReadingRuby
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Pickpick

Despite the tough subject matter, My Absolute Darling was really enjoyable. The character of Turtle is so deep and interesting, and it felt like an honest depiction of the contradictory feelings of a child brought up in such awful circumstances. Hearing about the tough subject matter prior to reading it had put me off slightly, but it was handled delicately enough that the violence didn‘t seem gratuitous

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Ericmanciniwriter
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This book. THIS BOOK

54 likes4 stack adds
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Victoriahoperose
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Pickpick

This was such a dark book. Very tough topics and themes. Trigger warnings for abuse, sexual abuse, etc. for this one. I do feel like it had some really important things to say about the effects of abuse and hope for victims in some ways. If you can endure the darkness, this is a good book.

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Bloomingjen
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I am about 50 pages in and I just can‘t do this book. I get what he is doing but I can‘t take it.

Soubhiville It‘s brutal. 1y
Burghbookaddict Yeah I quit on this one too 1y
merelybookish I have soooo many problems with this book. I think I finished it so I could feel justified in my hate. 1y
8little_paws Yup i stepped out at about the same point. The world doesn't need more books like this written by men. 1y
Bloomingjen It was like child abuse porn 1y
27 likes1 stack add5 comments