Title: Turtles All the Way Down
Author: John Green
Publish Date: November 14, 2017
# of Pages: 286
**Warning: Possible spoilers!**
(From Goodreads) Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green follows the life of Aza, her trusty best friend Daisy, and the Pickett brothers. Aza and Daisy set out to unravel the mystery of the gone-missing billionaire Russell Pickett, but the journey is complicated, and with Aza’s ever spiraling thoughts, the journey is not lit by a well-traveled map.
Wow! What a powerful book. Turtles All the Way Down is one of the only fiction books I’ve read that features a character with OCD, and it’s handled beautifully. The entire book from start to finish had me on the edge of my seat, though admittedly, it was a stressful book to read.
Aza, the main character in Turtles All the Way Down, is resilient, bold, and brave. Her OCD thought spirals are heartbreaking, and I’m sure they hit close to home for a lot of people. The book allows you to step into Aza’s mind and experience the anxiety of not being able to control your own thoughts. Aza doesn’t want to do the things she does–she just can’t help it. Her brain won’t let her do otherwise.
The adventure Aza and Daisy set out on is as dark as Aza’s thought spirals. Russell Pickett, billionaire fugitive, abandons his boys in favor of hitting the road rogue. In the end, it’s his demise. It’s sad that Davis and his younger brother are willingly left fatherless by their dad’s bad decisions. In the end, their father also abandons them financially. Davis feels the strain of the world on his shoulders as he steps into the role of caretaker of his younger brother. Davis and his brother are faced with difficult choices in the book, and they handle the cards they’re dealt as best they can.
I appreciated the ending of the book. It closes on a positive note, with each character moving on with their lives. Without too many details, the book lets the reader know that the characters are okay. Aza is okay. Daisy is okay. Davis and his brother are okay. They’ve each grown up and moved past their circumstances, and Aza lives a life she never expected to live.
I would highly recommend reading this book. If you haven’t read it already, check it out!
“But I was beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell. Of course, you pretend to be the author. You have to. You think, I now choose to go to lunch, when that monotone beep rings from on high at 12:37. But really, the bell decides. You think you’re the painter, but you’re the canvas.”
“The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.”
“Anybody can look at you. It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.”
“True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice in the matter.”
“I was so good at being a kid, and so terrible at being whatever I was now.”
“I don’t mind worriers,” I said. “Worrying is the correct worldview. Life is worrisome.”
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” —WILLIAM JAMES
“You can’t control it, that’s the thing,” I said. “Life is not something you wield, you know?”
“What I love about science is that as you learn, you don’t really get answers. You just get better questions.”
“The worst part of being truly alone is you think about all the times you wished that everyone would just leave you be. Then they do, and you are left being, and you turn out to be terrible company.”
“You never think much about weather when it’s good, but once it gets cold enough to see your breath, you can’t ignore it. The weather decides when you think about it, not the other way around.”
“I missed everybody. To be alive is to be missing.”
“You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person, and why.”
Have you read this book? Did you love it as much as I did? What did you think about the way John Green presented OCD through Aza’s character?
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