After a vigorous and wide-ranging discussion of Lab Girl, our most recent book, the Field Notes Book Group has chosen the book we’re going to read and discuss for May: My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent. Our next meeting will be on Saturday, May 19, in The Field Library Gallery, from 11:00 to 12:30, and as usual, there will be snacks (including but not limited to Dunkin Donuts Munchkins) and coffee available for our reading enthusiasts.
My Absolute Darling is a change of pace, a novel after the last three months of nonfiction. A book that placed on numerous best book of the year lists for last year (when it came out), My Absolute Darling is about Turtle, a 14 year old girl growing up in the woods of Northern California. Her mother is dead, and she’s being raised by her father, a man who’s both deeply disturbed and wildly charismatic. He’s a survivalist, training her to keep away from other human beings and to survive in the event of a catastrophe which he expects to come at any moment. She’s living an expansive life in the wilderness, wandering for miles, familiar with every rock and tree and pond. But in middle school, she has as little contact with other people as she can manage, careful to keep anyone from getting close enough to penetrate her emotional shell. All that changes when she meets Jacob, a high school boy who’s everything she’s not, who tells jokes, lives in a house like a normal person, and looks at her as if she hung the moon. Gradually Turtle begins to open up, to feel friendship and even a crush, and she looks at the world she’s been living in with new eyes, seeing its limitations, its unsustainable quality, and its dangers. Now she’s going to use the skills her father taught her for new purposes: to escape from him and the life he has in mind for her.
Come to the library and pick up a copy of My Absolute Darling, and then join us on May 19 (when, hopefully, spring will be in the air) from 11:00 to 12:30 in The Field Library Gallery for invigorating discussion and refreshments.