Turtles All the Way Down: The Tightening Spiral

First things first: I am so glad to be back on Rx: Literature with my very first review as a full-fledged MD. *confetti falls from the ceiling, recorded applause and cheering plays loudly* Since it has been decided that I’m taking the year to rest, grow, and explore before plunging into residency, expect a bit more frequent reviews – that is, if my time and diligence permits it. Anyhow, without further ado, here’s Turtles!

I’ve been a big fan of John Green’s books since Looking for Alaska, so needless to say, along with his countless readers around the globe, I was among those eagerly awaiting his next masterstroke. And when it finally came, I couldn’t get my hands on a copy soon enough.

"Reading someone's poetry is like seeing them naked."
Turtles All the Way Down book cover

Turtles All the Way Down is a masterpiece. Though it is a given that every writer leaves a piece of themselves into every sheet of writing they put out, John Green goes a step beyond with this one and leaves a piece of his soul. Green in one of his author interviews related his daily struggles with his anxiety disorder, and it really is no easy thing. With his latest offering, he brings us a glimpse inside the minds of people who have to live with such difficulty,  each day a battle with oneself .

Turtles brings us a story of life, love, friendship, struggle, and everyday survival, in the backdrop of a missing billionaire mystery. Aza’s narrative is so strong and moving. I felt as if I was right there battling her inner demons with her. As if being a teenager wasn’t enough, having to make big decisions about college, studying endlessly to get decent grades, and desperately trying to make sense of all them hormones, she also has to deal with the complicated dealings of her own thoughts, thoughts that won’t stop, thoughts that won’t leave her alone.

"Whether it hurts is kind of irrelevant."

Davis persistently tugs at my heartstrings, him and all his scars. And those blog entries! Goodness. What a beautiful tortured soul! Wounded as both of them are, Davis and Aza found temporary reprive in each other’s company – though both of their problems were never truly gone, always there, haunting them.

As with our other John Green favorites, this one is filled with so many memorable lines and scenes. Green’s talent never fails to amaze me. But, what might also be my only concern with his previous works, I can’t help but think that his characters, and their narratives, might be portrayed in way that’s too deep for a teenager. I think it has to do with choice of words and composition of sentences. Aza and Davis really don’t sound like teenagers at times.

"Your now is not your forever."

One thing I really like about this book is that, in spite of all the difficulties and struggles it does so portray about anxiety disorder and how it affects not only the patient but also the people around him/her, it provides hope. Because there is hope. It is possible to live through it. It is possible to get a good ending. It is possible to rise above everything and be your true self.

"...no one ever says good-bye unless they want to see you again."

Turtles is worth every single second of the six year wait. Grab this one, friends, and prepare to go all the way down. It’s a sure favorite.

DOCTOR’S ORDERS: Prepare to be amazed. This masterstroke is sure to leave John Green’s fans, both old and new, in awe over the sheer wit and genius of his writing, as well as the heart and soul it possesses. A must read.

Watch out for: a beautiful portrayal of the workings of the anxious mind and the daily struggles of a person with a mental illness. You have been warned – You will be moved.



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