Turtles All the Way Down
Turtles All the Way Down is not your typical teen fiction. While it follows the same girl-meets-boy trope synonymous with the genre, author John Green manages to tap into something deeper. The author, who also wrote “The Fault in Our Stars”, focuses on a character with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Green tapped into his personal experience with OCD when writing this book. The main character in “Turtles All the Way Down” is not Aza Holms; it’s OCD. The thought process of compulsive behavior in the book is disturbingly accurate.
I enjoyed how well OCD is portrayed in “Turtles All the Way Down.” Aza Holms, locked inside her own head, is in a battle against her own delusions about C diff infections. Her fear of infection is non-sensical and she knows this. Unfortunately, OCD doesn’t care about logic. OCD will fixate on any possibility of the worst outcome, then the worst ramifications of that outcome. Aza’s mind spirals into oblivion about infections to the point where she can’t kiss her love interest, even though she desperately wants to. Such is the life of suffering from OCD.
Unfortunately, “Turtles All the Way Down” doesn’t have much going for it other than highlighting the pain of OCD. There’s a dead billionaire, corporate corruption, and gratuitous pop-culture references. The book could have been improved if Green spent more time integrating these points into the plot.
John Green’s experience with OCD is on display, which overcomes the shortfalls of the novel. If you have a friend or family member who suffers from Anxiety or OCD this is a must read; you will learn what is going on inside their heads. People who suffer from ODC know their actions are crazy, but the OCD is shouting at them to do it again, and again, and again.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers; First Edition (October 10, 2017)