Title: Turtles All the Way Down
Author: John Green
My Rating: 3/5 stars
If you read the synopsis provided, you would think this book was about a mysterious disappearance of a local billionaire and a rag-tag group of teens (including the billionaire’s son) who take it upon themselves to look for said missing person in hopes of cashing in on the reward. However, in actuality, this is but a very minor subplot to a story centered around Aza, a girl who suffers from severe anxiety and OCD.
In typical John Green fashion, characters often theorize about life and the meaning of it, recite and write poetry, and undergo philosophical and scientific discussions. Fortunately, it seems to add to the story rather than make the characters seem pretentious, which has been something Green has been accused of in the past. In fact, it lends itself to Aza’s instabilities because of her constant thought spirals and the way her imagination gets away from her and causes her to become horribly anxious.
This book has excellent representation of mental illness, and I believe this is partly due to John Green’s own struggles with OCD. It’s a very interesting yet sometimes graphic portrayal of this illness and I can say that I’m better for reading it.
That is to say that while I enjoyed this read, it was quite slow in parts. While it entertained in a way that only John Green can, it still seemed aimless and I struggled to see the point of the story. There didn’t seem to be any reason for the billionaire subplot and it was obviously far neglected in favor of the main plot, which I still have difficulty understanding.
Turtles All the Way Down is definitely not my favorite John Green novel, but it’s safe to say that despite it’s downfalls, this is a good addition to his repertoire.