Turtles All the Way Down offers a powerful view into the mind of 16-year-old Aza, a girl with obsessive-compulsive disorder. She cannot control her thoughts as they spiral, and, she wonders, if she doesn’t control her own thoughts, who is she? Her illness tightens and loosens its grip on her, but never completely leaves.
John Green really shines when conveying Aza’s thought process while in the midst of these repetitive spirals without bogging down the prose or interrupting the momentum of the story. This is the first novel I can remember reading in which mental illness is portrayed with such dignity, compassion, and truth. Aza says to her new boyfriend, “I have these…thought spirals, and I can’t get out of them…this doesn’t get better…I’m not gonna un-have this is what I mean.”
That is Aza’s personal struggle, but the larger story focuses on a local wealthy business owner who has absconded after botching a city contract, leaving his two sons to fend for themselves in their mansion.
Five hearts for this one. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
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