My Absolute Darling: A Novel - Gabriel Tallent

A profoundly disturbing story of young Turtle (Julia) who dwells in Mendocino an America's west coast an area of outstanding natural beauty with dense forests and a rugged coastline. In deep contrast to this utopian scene Turtle lives alone with her father Martin who, although he expresses his undying love for her, feels the need to rape her in a never ending cycle of loathsome self pity. This is her guardian, the one entrusted to care for her, and because of these despicable acts Turtle cannot comprehend her feelings towards him, she both loves and loathes him in equal measures. The controlling influence of the father creates some frightening and upsetting scenes to read: The child is forced to complete a number of pull-ups from a rafter and when she lowers her body Martin holds a knife beneath her..."Then he raised the knife and lays the blade up between her legs."....."The knife bites into the blue denim of her jeans and Turtle feels the cold steel through her panties."

 

Turtle meets and befriends a boy called Jacob and she begins to understand that kindness and friendship can exist even in a world where despicable acts are performed on a daily basis. As she returns home one evening she notices that her home has a new lodger a young child Cayenne and realizes now as she is almost a teenager, Martin has acquired a new defenceless child, to fulfil his sickening sexual desires. Can Turtle escape the claws of this evil monster? Can she rescue Cayenne before it is too late? This is at times a very difficult story to read as the author paints a picture of an unsettling family life against a picturesque and idyllic backdrop. I was captivated by both the innocence and evil and found myself reading this story in a very short time. Many thanks to the good people at netgalley for a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written.