A billionaire is missing and a promise of cash reward fascinates Aza Holmes, a young-adult suffering from OCD and anxiety. While her daily existence is cumbersome due to the negative thoughts that are spiraling her downwards in life, she can definitely look up for a true friendship that awaits her. This is the core theme of the book apart from showcasing the true form of mental illness.
It’s not merely a book, but a journey. Apparently John Green has developed a penchant for it. The initial pages are light-hearted and draw your interest but as soon as the author pulls you deeper into the life of Aza, her conflicts, and inner demons, it becomes difficult to read. This is not because you don’t want to read, but because it hurts you.
Turtles All the Way Down showcases the true nature of OCD and anxiety from a POV of a 16-year-old-girl. As soon as you read the line ‘Whether it hurts is kind of irrelevant’, you begin pondering upon the truthfulness of it. However, that is only the beginning.
There is a section in the book where the protagonist wonders what is it that people want to hear when they ask about the well-being of others? Are they merely looking for simple answers? Will they be interested to actually listen? How will they react if someone reverted that they were not doing OK?
The book also deals with loss. Now that subplot has a good reason behind it in my opinion. Maybe the author wanted to showcase how even a person suffering from mental sickness is not exempted from other worries in their life. It further adds to the pain of the protagonist and makes you think.
I loved how John Green has developed the characters. Also, every character has a significant role in both the story and Aza’s life.
Another significant thing to notice is in one of the quotes inside the book. “I guess at some point, you realize that whoever takes care of you is just a person and that they have no superpowers and can’t actually protect you from getting hurt.” Even though everyone around Aza loves her, it doesn’t change the fact that she is hurt from the inside. It is true in real life as well. People who care for us might help us sail through our sorrows but they can’t protect us from getting hurt in the first place.
Overall, the book is wonderfully written, thought-provoking and a great addition to the young-adult genre.