Saturday 5 May 2018

A Review: John Green's Turtles All The Way Down

Hi, and thanks for stopping by.

Last week I discovered my favourite book of 2018 so far! It was one I actually was anticipating I really wouldn't enjoy - John Green's Turtles All The Way Down. I'd actually taken this on a train journey with me, because I thought for sure I'd need to be trapped in one space to get through it - then it turned out to be stunning. Serves me right for making assumptions. I think it was the blurb that let this book down - it makes it sound so random and busy and not really like a contemporary at all, but DO NOT BE FOOLED. This book is beautiful.

"No one ever says goodbye unless they want to see you again."

So firstly, as I kind of mentioned above, the plot/storyline itself does guide the novel, introducing new characters when needed and providing points of tension and release etc., but character is far more key (kind of quintessential John Green, in that sense). The plot did, however, introduce some really interesting discussion of father/son relationship dynamics, brotherhood, wealth  & insecurity. The romance was pretty key to both moving the plot forward, and, weirdly, ensuring moments of stillness. I don't want to talk about it too much, because I don't want to spoil it, but it was really special.

"Actually, the problem is that I can't lose my mind ... it's inescapable."

So, I don't personally suffer from OCD meaning I can't tell you if the representation was 100% accurate, but I can tell you that, in my reading of it, it was stunning. I think it was really relatable for those of us who suffer from anxiety, particularly health anxiety, too, though - the way in which "anxiety" almost became a character, spoke in italics, how it felt and sounded in the brain and was just exceptionally well done, in my opinion. There were, as I've mentioned before, some incredibly triggering moments in this - one, that takes place in a hospital after an unrelated incident, made me weep.

"I was so good at being a kid, and so terrible at being whatever I was now."

I really adored the mother/daughter relationship in this novel, too. Aza and her mother didn't have a perfect dynamic, but they just felt so realistic when interacting with each other. Their relationship was moving and honest and I absolutely loved reading about their engagement with one another. If anything, I could've read MORE about them!!

"There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn't."

Aza's relationship with her best friend Daisy was so hilarious. Better still, as with her mother, it felt so incredibly real and complex; both characters just leapt off of the page, really. Daisy is definitely one of my favourite characters in quite a long time, she made me snort-laugh, out loud, on multiple occasions. I also thought their more confrontational moments were so well-written, and both characters were simultaneously so sympathetic, it was hard to know which side I stood on!!

“I wanted to tell her that I was getting better, because that was supposed to be the narrative of illness: It was a hurdle you jumped over, or a battle you won. Illness is a story told in the past tense.” 

The ENDING, though. I mean, I think this might be one of my favourite endings of a book ever?! Don't get me wrong, it wasn't much of a Disney, "they all lived happily ever after" situation, but it was perfectly pitched, in my opinion. It was brave, sad, happy - all at once. The last couple of paragraphs in particular made me cry whilst reading like I haven't done since Emery Lord's The Names They Gave Us (which I read last summer!!!).

"Your now is not your forever."

Till next time



  1. I’m glad you liked it! Turtles isn’t my favorite John Green book, but I really liked it, too.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!