Meaningful (Turtles) All the Way Down: John Green Hits Home Again

Photo courtesy ofJohn Green.

Photo courtesy ofJohn Green.

Photo courtesy ofJohn Green.

Alison Whitley, Reporter

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John Green’s “Turtles All the Way Down” was published on Oct. 10, 2017. His fifth solo published book and his seventh overall, it was first announced at Vidcon 2017, and readers have been wondering about it ever since.

The story follows Aza Holmes, a 16 year old girl struggling with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). When a billionaire goes missing, Aza, along with her best, most fearless friend Daisy, go searching for him in hopes of collecting a $100,000 reward. The constant struggle to juggle a detective case along with her normal anxiety-driven life and a new love interest may be too much for her to handle.

I really loved how thorough the book described the protagonist’s OCD and anxiety. Aza is often preoccupied with her intrusive, irrational and fearful thoughts. Green describes her fixation with the bacteria Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. Even though this bacteria primarily only infects hospital patients who have been given antibiotics — making it highly unlikely for Aza to acquire it — the fear it brings causes a downward spiral of emotions. Every small stomach ache worries her, to the point that she is unable to focus: “I couldn’t stop wondering whether there was something wrong with the micro balance of power inside of me.”

One of my favorite parts of the book is Aza and Davis’s relationship, because they both have their own issues, but are understanding and willing to work through them together. Davis is afraid that people, including Aza, only befriend him because of his family’s money. Aza is nervous that any touching a normal relationship may contain would result in her developing a deadly bacteria. But they stuck by one another and didn’t let their limitations get in the way.

This book was especially near and dear to John Green’s heart because the main characters’ struggles with OCD and anxiety reflect his own. “Turtles” allows one to gain insight  and obtain a whole new perspective on people obsessive compulsive disorder and extreme anxiety .

“Turtles All the Way Down” is a great book for teens to read because OCD is a  real-life struggle people deal with, and by lessening its stigma through its inclusion in the book, more people will be able to sympathize with and be mindful of those who battle OCD. I definitely recommend “Turtles All the Way Down” to anyone who is interested in a well-written book that not only will open your mind and heart to the reality of mental struggles, but also will keep you on the edge with a budding mystery.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Meaningful (Turtles) All the Way Down: John Green Hits Home Again”

  1. Michaela on November 9th, 2017 8:28 am

    Great article, Alison! I am at the very beginning of the book right now, and your review makes me excited about finishing the book. I especially like the title 🙂


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Meaningful (Turtles) All the Way Down: John Green Hits Home Again