Turtles All The Way Down Review

A look into the world of mental illness

| November 2, 2017

John Green has returned to the literary spotlight five years following the release of his blockbuster title “The Fault in Our Stars.” His highly anticipated new novel, “Turtles All The Way Down,” was released Oct. 10, and it packs a punch.

In the book, a millionaire accused of fraud flees from his home in order to escape incarceration. The police have a hundred thousand dollar reward for anyone with information regarding his whereabouts. The man has left behind his two sons and an interesting pet you won’t soon forget. Hearing of the reward, two high school girls, Aza Holmes and Daisy Ramirez, decide to take on the case.

Picture Courtesy of Lindsay Smith

“Turtles All The Way Down” is a raw portrayal of the realities of living with OCD. The main character and narrator, Aza, battles the urge to partake in the behaviors that her thoughts demand of her. Readers have a front row seat to her inner thoughts, watching her wrestle with them as a drug addict wrestles the desire to get high. Throughout the novel, Aza sees a therapist who offers insightful advice and coping strategies to help her live a normal life. In one session, her therapist says, “One of the challenges with pain-physical or psychic- is that we can really only approach it through metaphor. It can’t be represented the way a table or a body can.” The rest of the novel, Green tries to give his audiences a story that gives voice to the psychic pain that those who struggle with mental health deal with every day. You will not be able to read the story of Aza Holmes without walking away with a broadened perspective of mental illness and humanity as a whole.

Other key characters from the book include Aza’s quirky best friend Daisy, who spends a lot of her time writing Star Wars fanfic. Also, is it even a John Green novel if there’s not a romantic interest? The millionaire’s oldest son, Davis Pickett, and Aza were childhood friends. When the two old friends reconnect, new feelings arise.  

Green explores fascinating existential questions, such as: Who exactly are we as people? Are we our thoughts? If not, then what are we? As with his previous works, Green has filled “Turtles All the Way Down” with facts you never knew you wanted to know, and eloquent explanations for feelings that are hard to explain. His prose continues to astound readers everywhere. Less than ten days after being released, the book has been named a #1 New York Times Best Seller.

Green’s new novel has well earned a 4.5 out of 5-star rating. The storyline and character development flow so naturally that you feel part of it. The vernacular is impeccable. “Turtles All The Way Down” offers readers a chance to see the struggles of OCD and develop compassion for people who fight the battle for sanity daily.

Picture Courtesy of Lindsay Smith

In order to promote his new novel, John Green is currently touring around the U.S. with his brother Hank Green. Hank is known for his collaboration with John on the YouTube channels Vlogbrothers and CrashCourse, as well as co-founding VidCon. The show consists of the brothers answering audience questions, singing, and science lessons, creating an atmosphere that is identical to that of their YouTube channels. The community that sprung up around these two brothers, referred to as NerdFighteria, has been one of the biggest supporters of “Turtles All The Way Down.” In fact, in the tour program, John writes, “This didn’t happen because my books are good, or because our videos are. It happened because people chose to care about our work, to invest their time and love into this community.” His modesty and truth only add to his genius.

I anticipate “Turtles All The Way Down” will go on to become a young adult classic and blockbuster, as did John’s other works, “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Looking for Alaska,” and “Paper Towns.”

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Category:Books, Lifestyle

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