“Every loss is unprecedented. You can’t ever know someone else’s hurt, not really — just like touching someone else’s body isn’t the same as having someone else’s body.” ~ somewhere in the book (yeah, I Googled the quote and THEY didn’t have page numbers so sincerest apologies)
Turtles All the Way Down is John Green’s newest novel. It’s about a girl, Aza, and her friend Daisy. So this rich dude goes missing and Aza reconnects with the son, but the son worries she just wants the reward money and gives her a ton on money, which is supposed to help her and Daisy do things like go to college. She builds up a relationship and she wants to be with him but just isn’t ready. Also, Aza has super bad OCD and basically has a break down that leads to her being hospitalized. At the end, she’s on better medications and getting therapy.
You can tell that John put a lot of himself into this book and used it to work through his own OCD. John Green also has OCD and has been super open about it over the years. It’s amazing because he puts things into the books that he has said on his podcasts or in his videos for years. Of course, it is super sad to read and hear about those experiences because no one should have to go through that. But it’s inspiring that he put so much thought into relating those experiences and hopefully helped himself but also I hope that it helps others. It’s not like mental illness is unheard of, it’s just stigmatized, and who knows who might read this and realize that it’s ok, it sucks but it’s ok, and they can get help and people will still love them.
In terms of the book, I had a hard time connecting with Daisy at first but I totally came around as the book went on. She got this money and really didn’t seem to care that she didn’t even know the guy who gave it to her and just used it irresponsibly. But I also wanted to empathize with her because she made it clear that her family had not a lot of money and she needed to pay for college in a country with disturbingly high college tuition rates. Like, one year costs as much as my entire degree at some schools, yikes! And she knew that this money wasn’t an issue for Davis, so, ok, let’s not look a gift horse in it’s mouth. The book was being told from Aza’s POV and she’s got a really hard time focusing on anything else because of her mental illness, which was exhausting for Daisy, as her friend had no idea what was happening in her life. Once they had a fight about things, I totally got why Daisy would feel like she could be ok taking some money from someone who didn’t need it.
I love how Aza didn’t really connect with her therapist at first, didn’t really like to admit to her mom how she was getting sicker, and yet couldn’t put the OCD thought spirals aside. It probably helps that the author (John!) is also mentally ill and knows what it’s like, but I feel like this is something that a lot of people experience with mental illnes when they’re not ready to deal with it. Kind of makes me want to tell anyone and everyone going through it too that there is hope and that they can get better.
I literally love this book so much. I actually want to read it again, but all in due time. First, y’all should read it!