Rare book review – My Absolute Darling

For Christmas, my family did a secret Santa book exchange. When sharing book ideas with one another, my only request was that I wanted to read something other than a romance. For over two years, I’ve read romance novels and only romance novels – call it market research. I’ve learned a great deal about a genre I hadn’t previously read extensively. I’ve enjoyed it, yet, I’ve sometimes longed to sink my teeth into a good literary novel. Which I recently did!

Per my request, I received a book that was anything but a romance! I read the compelling book – My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent. As you can see from other reviews, there is plenty of disagreement about this book, which I can completely appreciate. 

This blog is not intended to be a book review site. There are ample great examples of review blogs, this is not going to become one. However, I was so impacted by this book, I must share my thoughts. 

It was a powerful and extremely challenging read! I can’t even say I’d “recommend it” as I wouldn’t recommend it for many people. But I will say, in the same breath, that it was an incredibly haunting, memorable, and well-written novel.

The book is a very dark coming-of-age story about a teenage girl named Turtle. This character will be one that I will not soon forget. Her story is riveting, infuriating, heartbreaking, and confounding all at the same time. It is cringe-worthy in so many ways, but I didn’t for a second consider putting the story aside.

The author’s writing style was fascinating, his prose and point of view unusual and vocabulary simply astounding. There were literally words on probably every other page which I couldn’t even pretend I knew. Granted there were more details about flora and fauna than I needed, which certainly contributed to my vocabulary deficits, but nonetheless, there were ample other adjectives that left me scratching my head.

It was a refreshing break to step outside of my reading routine. The book left me empty (gutted, hollow) and inspired at the same time. The writing is both beautiful and wrenching. If you are not thick-skinned or prefer stories that leave you feeling lifted up and light (happy endings and whatnot) then I’d suggest you take a hard pass on this story. However, if you are feeling up to it  – dive in – I promise you won’t forget this story anytime soon.

Have you read it? If so share your thoughts.

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