REVIEW: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

(I know I am INCREDIBLY late to review this book but ... oh well.)

I read TATWD in two days. Two days. 48 hours. Given that last year my Reading Challenge goal was to read one book a month, reading a whole book in two days is quite an accomplishment for me. Safe to say I absolutely loved it.

Prior to this I had only read The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns when I was much younger. When TATWD was announced, I was simultaneously excited and apprehensive. The last time I had read John Green I was probably around 14 and my reading tastes have changed drastically since then. I look back fondly on that era of my life, even though I also majorly cringe about it. 

Because of this, I was apprehensive to ruin this fond memory I have by reading a book that is too 'young' for me and find it annoying and cringey. However I was too excited to not ask for it for Christmas. So I did. I asked for it purely on the basis of hype; I hadn't even read the blurb yet. 

If you've already read or seen any reviews of this book (which you probably have as I'm writing this 4 months after it was published) then you're most likely sick of hearing 'I really relate to Aza Holmes'.

Sorry to annoy you further, but it's true. Aza is an incredibly relatable character to anyone who has ever experienced OCD or anxiety. As someone who frequently suffers from anxiety, words cannot describe the feeling of having your thoughts and feelings put into words (another sentence you've probably heard a thousand times already). It's as if John Green climbed into my brain and sat and listened for months on end, then relayed exactly what I was thinking. At times it was difficult to read in the same way that it's difficult to hear someone tell you they think you have a problem. For me, the hardest chapter to read was chapter 11 where Aza sits in the car park of the bank obsessing over her plaster. By the end of the chapter my heart was POUNDING. I had to put the book down immediately and give myself a break. There is a whole page dedicated to showing the internal dialogue within Aza's brain and it was too close for comfort for me to read. 

I have always struggled to explain to my family how my anxiety affects me personally. John Green's words summed me up so perfectly that I asked my mum to read the passage in order to understand it a bit better. She did, and ever since then I can tell she understands it more which is great. Chapter 11 is the only page permanently dog-eared in my copy. 

The book gets harder and harder to read towards the end. I had been able to refrain from crying for the whole book up until the car crash scene. That just broke me. I know I will re-read TATWD in the future, but I will definitely be skipping that part. 

After I had finished the book in a whirlwind of the past 48 hours, it occured to me how irrelevant the plot actually was. TATWD focused heavily on the characters and their development, the plot didn't really matter. If someone asked me to summarise the plot, I wouldn't be able to without mentioning how important the character development is.


TATWD really spoke to me in a way a book has never been able to. I'm almost slightly embarrassed to say that because John Green has made me feel so vulnerable by making my thoughts so public and accessible. I really wasn't expecting to enjoy TATWD, but it has actually made it's way to my favourite book I have ever read. 


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