Book Review: Turtles All The Way Down, John Green

Book Review: Turtles All The Way Down, John Green

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Him: And the thing is, when you lose someone, you realize you’ll eventually lose everyone.

John Green is pure genius. The thing about every story he does is how easily you find yourself being able to relate completely. Everyone does love stories but what makes each book of John Green’s so unique is the fact that besides being a master storyteller, his love stories are unconventional.

The last book he did was The Fault in Our Stars, way back in 2012. Which we all loved. And the movie was great.

Turtles All the Way Down came out in October 2017 and while I’m a lot late to the party, I’m glad I read this book. John Green does some of the most brilliant one liners. Some of the most intense too. In the whole world.

Every protagonist of his, ever, always seem like real people with real issues.

The protagonist in Turtles, Aza Holmes, is no different. She’s rather real and despite the fact that she’s battling some form of obsessive compulsive disorder, she’s also relatable. Just quickly, without giving away too much – Turtles is the story of a sixteen year old who lives with her high school math teacher Mum, drives her late Dad’s car which she’s lovingly christened Harold and sees a therapist called Dr. Karen Singh regularly. Her two friends Daisy and Mychal – a vibrant girl who does Star Wars fanfic, and an artist who looks like a “giant hot baby, if Beyoncé and Drake had a baby” respectively – are beautifully executed characters too. The contrast between Daisy and Aza is so stark and it’s almost like one acts like the Ying to the other’s Yang. Two halves of a whole and that’s some amazing female friendship come alive in fiction.

The plot takes off from the time a local billionaire construction mogul named Russell Pickett goes missing. Daisy who’s drawn to the whole idea of getting rich quick from the $100,000 reward for information leading to the man’s arrest, insists that Aza join in on her investigation. This leads to a rekindling between Aza and Pickett’s older son Davis who she met at “Sad Camp” when they each lost a parent. And just so, a very unconventional romance that I talked about earlier, blossoms. Aza battles with her anxiety and her phobia of the human microbiome, and this makes it difficult for them both to carry on. There’s this line from the book –

Illness is a story told in the past tense.

And I don’t know why, but it spoke to me.

Aza has some of the best lines – she talks of being at peace, however momentary it may be, with Davis and she talks of a “non-sensorial place almost like we were inside the others consciousness a closeness that real life with its real bodies could never match,” after a FaceTime call with Davis.

Davis has some of the cutest moments and it’s super nice when he texts Aza I like us for real. Kind of makes me wish I had someone like that; but whatever.

I kind of feel like I might give away the whole story if I keep at this. But one last thing: where did the turtles bit come from? So Daisy tells Aza a story of a scientist and who is telling a class about the earth. And one old lady at the back corrects the scientist and says that the earth is balanced on the back of a giant turtle. The scientist asks her if she knows what the said turtle is standing on. The lady replies that it’s actually another turtle: and at this point the scientist gets super frustrated but the lady says that it’s turtles standing on one another and it’s turtles all the way down.

And there you have it, folks. I’m gonna end with another quote from the book because Mr. Green’s one liners are something to obsess over completely.

No one ever says goodbye unless they wanna see you again.

Have y’all read this book? Will you watch the movie? Let me know!