The first time I read The Fault in Our Stars, my mom found me puffy eyed and snotty faced in a corner under my desk. Since then, I have read An Abundance of Katherines, Will Grayson Will Grayson, Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska. I am telling you this in order to make two things clear: 1. I have a John Green obsession and 2. I will be biased in my review.
It has been 6 years since any John Green book came out, so you would understand how this book’s publication almost seems like reuniting with a long-lost lover.
Turtles All the Way Down follows a simple journey of a teenager struggling through the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. It’s a light, young adult book that focuses less on the plot and more on philosophical writings, the protagonist’s anxiety and inner turmoil is captured perfectly, and it’s very easy to get lost in his evaluations of human consciousness.
I appreciate John Green’s depiction of mental illness in the book, it’s real and disturbing however, it isn’t overlooked and it isn’t all there is to the book or the character. The book juggles between Aza’s inner thoughts and everything else that is happening around her, the subplot is rich enough to create a playground for the characters to evolve in but not to steal the narrator’s voice away. It’s impossible not to appreciate how the two plots (the one happening internally and the one happening externally) flow so easily into one another.
Let’s talk about that title though.
“Turtles all the way down” is an expression of the problem of infinite regress. The saying alludes to the mythological idea of a World Turtle that supports the earth on its back. It suggests that this turtle rests on the back of an even larger turtle, which itself is part of a column of increasingly large turtles that continues indefinitely.”
The relation between that story and what Aza is passing through gives readers an even clearer image of her “spirals” and brings them a little closer to becoming her while journeying through this book.
I hope the book finds its way to the nightstand of all YA readers, it’s a lightweight existential book that will get you thinking for a while.
Enjoy and always bring a book home. x