Hello and happy Wednesday. I very rarely get to review a book the day after I read it, but I’m on vacation so I have more time to blog now. Also, I’m excited to have all my thoughts fresh because this book had me feeling some deep emotions. I’m talking about Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.
I read this book between December 18th and December 19th, 2019 and gave it five stars. This is now a favorite of mine, a definite must-read. I already know that I have to reread this at least once more and tab it because it was so relatable. I have to say, though, that I went into this book genuinely afraid that I wouldn’t like it or that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. To be fair, this has happened with every John Green book I’ve read. It’s honestly pretty amazing because each time I get to fall in love once more with his amazing writing style and his characters who are just captivating. To me, John Green is the straight equivalent of David Levithan and we all know how I feel about that author.
I picked up this book because I was reading another one and it got to a pretty eye-roll-inducing part, so I needed a palette cleanser. And let me tell you, I was hooked from the very start. I’ve said before how hard it is for me to feel represented in books, but there were times in which I felt that John Green had been inside my brain and was transcribing my thoughts verbatim. The very first paragraph is probably the most shocking, hooking, captivating first paragraph I’ve ever read, and again, it was very relatable.
You see, Aza, the main character, has obsessive-compulsive disorder, although to be fair, I don’t think her diagnosis is explicitly mentioned throughout the novel. What is clear is that she has recurrent intrusive thoughts and that she has been in treatment for them for a while. In the first paragraph, she discusses how we might all be fictional characters, and that life isn’t real or free, but the work of an author. I kid you not; when I was in first grade, I once had this thought that I’ve never forgotten about whether this all was, in fact, reality or just a figment of someone’s imagination. Yes, kids, that’s what happens when you have no friends.
I must say that though I have not been diagnosed with OCD, I do have some obsessive-compulsive thoughts, which, as my sister explains, makes sense considering my anxiety. My sister is a psychologist, in case you were wondering. Anyway, I am clarifying this because 1. I cannot attest to the representation of obsessive-compulsive disorder since I have not being diagnosed with it and I don’t know whether this book is own voices; and 2. I understand how reading this book can be triggering to some people. I binge-read this book, okay? But that doesn’t mean I didn’t need to take pauses to breathe and cry and just tell myself “this isn’t you right now, you’re okay,” and even through that, I did have a dream that exacerbated my impostor syndrome, so be wary of the effect this novel might have in your mental health and whether it’s worth it to you.
Something that I think John Green does brilliantly is creating these amazing characters who you wish were your friends in real life. Daisy, Aza’s best friend, is not someone who I wish were real, because I have a Daisy in my life already. The first time I cried with this book was actually when she was introduced because she reminded me of my very own best friend and how she’s loved and supported me throughout the years without ever fully understanding how or why my brain works the way it does. I’m giving her this book for her birthday, so I hope she doesn’t read this and get the surprise ruined.
If you liked Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, which I loved, then I think you’ll really enjoy this one. It is, quite honestly, the type of book I never knew I needed in my life and can’t get enough of. I love that John Green’s books always have some sort of a trip or a quest within the plot, and though this isn’t the exception, you must understand that this centers way more on what’s going on in Aza’s mind and not so much on what happens around her. The quest in this novel is for a man, the dad of one of Aza’s estranged friends, who is in legal trouble and now a reward for information on his whereabouts has been set.
Again, we are in Aza’s brain throughout the novel, so the narration occasionally shifts from the first person to the second person, and the effect that has on me is unexplainable and undefinable. You could say there is a bit of romance, but it is by no means the center of the plot, so if you’re looking for that, maybe look elsewhere.
Have you read anything life-changing lately? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Love, Miss Camila