Book Review: My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent


Tallent’s My Absolute Darling is, as evidenced by the cover, a New York Times bestseller.

When I read the excerpt rather quickly, my initial understanding was that I was embarking on a story with a representation of the “wild woman” trope. A trope which never ceases to fascinate me. I imagined a novel akin to Owens’ Where The Crawdads Sing.

Tallent definitely subverted my expectations. By chapter four, my heart was in my throat and the abuse of Turtle was too intense for my taste. I didn’t even know if I could take much more of it and thought I would be unable to finish the book. I almost never bail on books as there as always something to learn or reflect upon (even if it’s just why I dislike it).

The descriptions of the natural world in this book are absolutely beautiful. In the same vein as Where the Crawdads Sing, you feel as if you can see, touch and smell the surroundings. These descriptions are in vivid contrast to the plot which is oh-so-very violent: sexually, emotionally and physically.

The inner monologue of Turtle rips out your soul although it is completely realistic when you consider the life she lives and the loss she negotiates.

At one point, I was reading and hoping for some sort of redemption to occur or at the very least, the beginnings of a plan for revenge. When it didn’t come, I decided I had to put it down.

Strangely, not knowing Turtle’s fate was haunting me and I worried that if I didn’t finish it, it would simply remain present in my mind. I picked it back up and re-entered the world with trepidation. I don’t want to spoil the ending but it’s realistic.

I would only advise you to read this book if you enjoy dark fiction. It was a somewhat traumatic novel to read and I don’t think I would be able to read it a second time but Tallent is definitely an author to look out for. He writes beautifully and despite my resistance to this novel, i have to say that his portrayal is extremely well rendered.

I gave it four black hearts but see it as the equivalent of four stars (due to the vivid portrayal of the protagonist, other characters and the overall quality of the narrative) but it should include a whole page of trigger warnings.

Intellectual Property Theft

Intellectual Property Theft Jokers

We live in a world where we can access each other’s ideas, information and research extremely easily.

We are blessed as so many people share their knowledge with one another in the hopes that they may perhaps save you time, show you a different way to do something more effectively, share their passions, etc. Just this week, I bought a disc bound planner in order to create my own binder system for my writing process and I benefited from tutorials on how to create your own dividers and covers, what size to buy for letter sized sheets, etc. I was very grateful that it simplified the process for me.

Three years ago, I decided to try self-publishing and I had brainstormed several concepts until I finally found the one which just seemed to sit right with me. The name of my company meant something to me on a personal level but it was also catchy on a professional level. I had a timeline of the different ideas I had and I was enthusiastic to start the process. For personal reasons, I had to wait to wait to register the company because I was a bit overwhelmed with other things going on in my life but I told myself one step at a time.

I happened on several articles on the net which basically said that even if you had not yet registered your company, you could start branding your content, etc. because nobody would bother to steal the branding or name of an unknown brand. It made perfect sense to me at the time. There would be no reason for anyone to take my ideas as I was just building it up slowly. I was a nobody really. I didn’t have anything to worry about. My good friend Ceta told me this was my first mistake. Thinking I was nobody.

I had been active with my branding for a few months when one day, I wanted to quickly search for my site in Google rather than via WordPress and I googled it. Interestingly, I found another site with the same name although a different .com address. The name of their company was unavailable as a .com as I had purchased it the year before and I will continue renewing it until it no longer irritates me.

At the beginning, I thought that it was just a coincidence. I went on the website for additional information. I am situated in Quebec and the newly founded publishing house was situated in Ontario. I was taken aback when I saw it was registered in March of 2021 and even more shocked when I saw the names of the owners and realized one was following me. I obviously blocked him as I was so upset and felt ridiculous for having given the whole situation the benefit of the doubt.

All I have to say to the group of four men in question is if you aren’t creative or original enough to come up with your own concepts, you are going to have a really hard time creating interesting content for your publishing house.

I am not really writing this to bash them. I am writing this so anyone in my position can benefit from my experience. Even if you think you are “nobody”, you are – as my friend Ceta would remind you “somebody”.

Be careful with your ideas and concepts and don’t start branding before your company is registered. Learn from my experience and my mistake.

I will undoubtedly make many more mistakes in this process but I am a steadfast believer that “if you want to grow, you need to get over any fear you have of making mistakes” (John Maxwell).