Sixteen-year old Aza Holmes, is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend and a good student. She’s also trying to track down fugitive billionaire Russel Pickett, who vanishes without a trace. Alongside her Best and Most Fearless Friend Daisy, Aza sets off in pursuit of the truth and – a $100,000 reward.
The trail leads them to Davis, a sometime friend of Aza who might have the clues they need. But as her compulsive thought spirals take an ever-tightening grip over her mind, Aza finds herself struggling to keep her investigations – and her life – from falling apart.
Hey readers! E-reading wasn’t as bad as I thought but there really isn’t any comparison between a digital screen and the sweet crisp scent of a newly opened paperback. Nothing can match the satisfaction of turning the last page of a book and going over its plot one last time in your mind and that’s why at this point I have no other option but to start rereading some old books.
Anyways, today I’m going to review Turtles All The Way Down by John Green. John Green, who has gifted the world with many other stupefying works like The Fault In Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, came back after a prolonged 3-year hiatus to deliver yet another work of pure art. John Green is famous for simplifying and breaking various vague and complex issues that teenagers face across the world and putting them in print with the facade of a fiction novel. I finished reading Turtles All The Way Down last week, and I’ve been regretting not reading it sooner ever since. A victim of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) himself, John Green beautifully describes what it is like to actually suffer from a disorder where you don’t even have any control over your own thoughts. His simple prose was more than sufficient to take me off guard and blow me away!
So, what exactly is OCD? It’s a disorder where patients have such overwhelming and powerful thoughts that they just can’t get over them. If they have any thought at all, they can’t just ignore it and start thinking something else; No, the thoughts keep playing on loop inside their heads and eventually they just can’t help but give in to their thought. Everyone of us must’ve experienced a moment in our lives when we just couldn’t shake a thought, may that be because of bereavement or any other tragedy, but we all have. Now just imagine living a life where these thoughts are incessantly hunting you. And the scariest thing is this disorder has no cure. Though, therapy has proved triumphant in some cases and you CAN get help, even when your brain tells you otherwise and this book has made me empathize with all the people throughout the world who find themselves stuck in this predicament.
Now lets come to the plot of the book. Aza Holmes, a taciturn student at White River High School, finds herself constantly overwhelmed by her thoughts. To her, it’s like she’s stuck in a thought spiral to which there is no escape. She feels herself choking internally as the spiral keeps on stretching infinitely. It’s like she’s in a tightening gyre where she is trapped. Forever. Her thoughts primarily revolve around hygiene and health and when these thought spirals become very strong, she is forced in having compulsions. Just imagine being ‘controlled’ by your thoughts. In a body, that is host to millions of microbes, only one thing was supposed to be really Aza’s and that was snatched away from her as well – Her thoughts. These thoughts control Aza to the point where she starts questioning her own reality, her own conscience, her own identity and finds herself in the grasps of one persistent question – Is she even real?
When fugitive billionaire Russel Pickett disappears, a tremendous reward of one hundred thousand dollars awaits Aza and her best friend Daisy. The two of them together try to solve the enigma and while in pursuit of the truth, Aza finds herself reunited with a long lost friend of the past, Davis Pickett, the billionaire’s son. Uncertain circumstances unite them once again and they find comfort in each other’s arms as their worlds fall apart. Both of them have an empty void inside of them and have different but similar methods of silencing their anxieties. Does the future hold anything for the both of them? Or they will forever remain, friends of circumstance?
What I really liked about the book was how real it was. Every page, every dialogue, every character, felt real. The unexpected boldness of the book was just magnificent and that’s what makes this book so unique. This compelling story told me a lot about mental health and how scary it really is. In such a competitive world, it seems impossible to lead a normal life when it’s hard for you to even get your own thoughts together and it just scares me to death. Mental illness can be as agonizing as any other physical harm and even worse in some cases. The ending of the book can be very unsatisfactory for some people. It was a very strong ending, in my opinion and the very essence and the hidden meaning of the book lies in the very last page. The author also tells us a lot about first love and why it holds such a special place in everyone’s hearts!
This book is a part of my ‘100 books to read before you die’ list and I encourage everyone to read it.
My rating: 9.8/10