So – let me just start off by saying that I am not a huge book person. I love the idea of reading a good book, and I could spend hours in Barnes and Noble. BUT, the actual reading part and keeping me interested in the book I am reading is pretty tedious and trying. I wish I was the type of person that could dive into anything and everything, soaking up all of the beautiful words, immersing myself in the pages and filling my mind with information. That’s just not reality unfortunately. I have many books on my shelf that I have bought and haven’t read, or read but only part way through. And some of this is due to disinterest, while some is due to the fact that I am a grad student and have textbook reading that I need to focus on. There are a handful of books that really get me fired up and spark my interest – and Turtles All The Way Down, that’s one of them.
Turtles All The Way Down by John Green is a unique story line about a high school girl, Aza, and her best friend/partner in crime, Daisy, and their wild adventure they embark on to win a 100,000 dollar reward. When a local billionaire goes missing, this reward is put out in the open for whoever finds Russell Pickett. Russell Pickett’s son, Davis, was an old friend of Aza’s, and they reconnect in this story while beginning to really fall for one another.
This seems all well and good right? A perfect love story.
Not as one would think.
Aza tries hard to be a good friend, a good daughter, a good ‘more than friend’ to Davis. But she is trapped by the ever spiraling of her thoughts, and consumed with anxiety stemming from obsessive compulsive disorder. She can’t be the ‘normal’ friend, girlfriend, and daughter, despite how badly she wishes to and how hard she tries. In reading Turtles All The Way Down, readers get a glimpse into the mind of Aza Holmes; we can sympathize with her, and feel the pain and panic she endures on a daily basis. As someone who has been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, I can empathize with Aza. This story hit home in a variety of ways. No, Aza and I do not share the same obsessions/compulsions, but I understood that spiral. I understood that relentless anxiety, constant doubting, and needing to check. Even if you do not suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder, this book is a fantastic read. It is so much more than mental illness, which is only a piece to this beautiful, thought provoking book. It is about friendship, love, loss, pain, suffering, and family. It is about the complexity of life, and reading it forces you to look at life from different angles and multiple perspectives. Readers can relate to the bonds of friendship and the conflicts that may arise as well as experiences with falling in love for the first time. And if you are one of the many out there that feels imprisoned by your own thoughts, you will be able to relate to that, too.
In sum – I highly recommend this book for anyone to read. I know it is currently popular among teens, but I am in my twenties and enjoyed every second of it. It is heart wrenching, funny, and can make you chuckle and fill you with emotion (likely not at the same time haha, but you get what I mean). Now, onto the next search of what I can read during my next break from school, and I think I already have some ideas. Stay tuned for more book reviews in the future!