Sunday, 22 October 2017

Book review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green


Anybody can look at you. It's quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see. 

"A second book review in a row? Are you serious?" You ask.
Yes, you read correctly. As it happens, the fourth trimester of the year is filled with book launches (I'm looking at you, Philip Pullman and J. K. Rowling) and a bookworm like me has to do quite a bit of budget management so not to spend all my paycheck on books (the struggle is real, my friends). Turtles All the Way Down came out on the 10th so last friday I marched to the nearest bookshop to pick it up.

I've been a John Green fan for quite a while now. I've read all his books except Will Grayson, Will Grayson (which I'll get to, eventually) and enjoyed them immensely though my favourite is definitely The Fault in Our Stars. So since I heard he was going to finally release a new book I've been counting the days until October 10th. I tried not to have my hopes up since I knew it would be difficult to top The Fault in Our Stars and I must say it didn't, mostly because it's so different than his other books, but it came quite close.

Turtles All the Way Down is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Aza Holmes living in Indianapolis. She never intended to pursue the mystery of the fugitive billionaire Russell Picket who disappeared in the middle of the night from his mansion and no one never heard from him again, not even his sons. There is a hundred-thousand dollar reward at stake and her best friend, aka famous Star Wars fan fiction writer Daisy, is eager to investigate the case. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett's son, Davis, and start their investigation.

This book is different from his other works as it is a bit more slow paced than what we're used to from John Green, and the plot is also more subtle. Instead of foccusing on romance between two teenagers this one's main focus is Aza and her mental health, living with the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. She is terribly intelligent (I learnt SO MUCH with her, especially about Clostridium difficile and human microbiome) and she's very much in her own head, as noted in the book towards the end, because of her anxiety and OCD. And this is not just the type of person who needs to have all her pencils lined up and makes sure she locks all her doors. No. This is the real and brutal type of OCD. You are not just reading about her OCD, with John Green's writing you're actually experiencing what it's like to have real OCD with her intrusive thought-spirals. And that's why it's very different and, honestly, what makes it so good, having a lot of psychology and metaphors involved. It's very intense to live as Aza, going through her experiences and how she tries to fight her mental health disease. Because “The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.”.

By the way, there's no turtles involved in this book except the metaphorical ones. There is, however, a pet tuatara named Tua, a reptile from New Zealand that will get the whole Picket's fortune if he's dead.

So please do yourself a favour, even if you've never read a John Green book, and get Turtle All the Way Down on Book Depository with free shipping or Amazon. You can thank me later!

You're both the fire and the water that extinguishes it. You're the narrator, the protagonist, and the sidekick. You're the storyteller and the story told. You are somebody's something, but you are also your you.


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