My Absolute Darling is a book about violence and should be regarded as such. The core of this book revolves around an abusive doomsday prepping, gun slinging psychopath and his severely warped 14-year old daughter Turtle, as she tries to navigate herself away from the grasp of torture and "messed-up-love" he has for her. They live together in a dilapidated house in a coastal town in the forests of northern California where Turtle is raised to be obsessed with guns and self-loathing in equal measure. Gabriel Tallent balances the extreme violence Turtle experiences with tender descriptions of the natural world around her and also occasionally of her actions. At times this both diffuses the tension and at other times heightens it. My Absolute Darling urges you to care, to invest in the capacity you have to do more and preserve what you already have and already are and is a difficult tense book that demands a lot from you but is ultimately rewarding.
Enduring an isolated existence after the death of her mother, 14-year-old Turtle roams the rocky shores and tide pools of the California coast and refutes every outside attempt to engage her before an unexpected friendship with a newcomer helps her realize the vulnerabilities of her life with her charismatic father.