Turtles All The Way Down
If love consisted of paper, words, author, and characters, then John Green would easily be the knight in shining armor in any plot twist. He is mystical. Like a unicorn mystical. He just gets it. He understands it. He becomes it. He describes the stuff that everyone else leaves a void because it’s too hard to breathe life into saying.
Obviously, I’m a huge fan. For good reason. Take his latest book, Turtles All the Way Down. The main character, a high school student named Ava, suffers from severe anxiety. If it exists in the universe, she worries about it, but especially germs. Her eccentric best friend, Daisy, stumbles upon an adventure when she hears an announcement on the radio that the authorities are looking for a disappeared businessman that is wanted for fraud. He mysteriously disappeared the night before his mansion was raided. The reward for finding him? Try a hundred grand. Along the way of the crazy adventure the girls set out on, Aza finds her first love in Davis, the billionaire’s son, and the simplicity of their complex relationship ends up helping Aza to discover much more about herself than she ever bargained for.
The edge of the book though is the way Green dives into Aza’s anxiety soaked brain and digs around and goes into the corners that are uncomfortable and very hard to reconcile. Wrap that up with a beautiful lesson privilege, and you have a deep, raw, and inspiring story that will leave your head spinning. It does have some language including the f bomb, so I definitely would recommend this book for mature readers, but don’t let the language stop you. You’ll miss all the best parts if you do.
As I read this book myself, I found myself thinking about all of the middle school or high school students dealing with mental illness, feeling alone and misunderstood. While we may never completely understand nor be able to grasp mental illness, attempting understanding and willingly providing compassion rather than judgment is important.
And you know, I really should leave the comment section of articles alone to burn under their own fuel, but sometimes I go where I shouldn’t. Then I can’t hardly turn around without exploring a little of where I’ve ended up. So I ended up reading the comment section of a review of this book. And my heart shattered. For Aza. For people like Aza. That mentality is exactly why the mentally ill feel isolation is their only friend. Sad. And unnecessary.
So, I encourage you to read this book. As with all of John Green’s books, this book is bigger than just a cover and a couple hundred printed pages. It’s understanding. It’s compassion. It’s learning.