Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult
Published: 10th October, 2017
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.
In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.
In the best conversations, you don’t even remember what you talked about, only how it felt.
I feel like this sentiment could be applied to books as well. Making you feel something is definitely the strongest point of Turtles All the Way Down. Sometimes we all need to take a step back, and just allow those feelings to come out. John Green certainly has a way with words and all that anxiety pouring out of the pages felt very real and sometimes too close for comfort.
“I don’t mind worriers,” I said. “Worrying is the correct worldview. Life is worrisome.”
Aza also suffers from OCD, and the book provides a great insight into what goes on inside someone’s head with this condition. I have to admit, I felt agitated just reading all those nagging thoughts spiraling out of control, and I’m ever thankful I don’t actually know from personal experience what that poor girl goes through every day.
I disgusted myself. I was revolting, but I couldn’t recoil from my self because I was stuck inside of it.
Frankly, the plot is beside the point. This whole mystery surrounding the missing billionaire was quite anticlimactic, with bizarre sub-plots involving semi-lizard reptiles, mysterious quotes, sidetracked by Star Wars fan fic and the love life of Chewbacca. (Rawwr) Okay, not really, but this what I remember.
I loved the friendship between Aza and her bestie, Daisy. They had their ups and downs, and perhaps Aza spent too much time inside her own head to truly appreciate her friend’s loyalty, but that’s just how life is sometimes. At her age, Aza is not fully equipped to deal with her own shit, and then there’s the always present guilt of how her life affects everyone around her. Daisy used her Star Wars fan fic as a way of dealing with her feelings about Aza, and it’s through that story that they found a way of communicating with each other at the end.
Davis Pickett, son of the missing billionaire, childhood friend and quasi love interest of Aza was somewhat of an oddball. He appeared to be wise beyond his years, which is nice, but I felt like the author went a bit overboard with him, and he could have easily been some octogenarian sage, spouting out all that deep, philosophical nonsense.
A special shout out to Aza’s mum: lady, you rock!
Turtles All the Way Down is absolutely worth a read. Just don’t go in expecting a great mystery or a fast paced story. All the shit going on is just an excuse to explore personhood, compassion, and the inner turmoil we all feel sometimes, even if we don’t suffer from anxiety.
“The problem with happy endings,” I said, “is that they’re either not really happy, or not really endings, you know? In real life, some things get better and some things get worse. And then eventually you die.”
Get Turtles All the Way Down on Amazon UK or Book Depository.