Book: Turtles All The Way Down
Author: John Green
Reviewed by Saniyah Eman
Turtles All The Way Down is one of John Green’s less cheerful books, but that would be because TATWD deals with anxiety disorder and bad parenting.
The story is narrated by a delightfully morbid teenager, Aza Holmes aka Holmesy, who has a rather serious sort of anxiety disorder. The story begins when Aza and her friend Daisy find out that a reward of a hundred thousand dollars is announced for anyone with knowledge of the whereabouts of a billionaire, Davis Pickett Sr., who disappeared when the Indianapolis police tried to arrest him for bribery. Incidentally, Pickett lives right across from Aza, by the Indianapolis River, and Aza knew his son, Davis Jr., as a kid. When Daisy and Aza try to snoop around the Pickett estate in hopes of winning the reward for their college funds, they end up meeting and, in Aza’s case, re-befriending Davis Pickett Jr., who is freakishly cute (And way too polite for a kid who has a hidden frigging theatre in his basement. And he writes, like, good poetry. Fan-club, anyone? Count me in.).
The story revolves around Aza’s anxiety ridden relationship with Davis, her friend Daisy, her mom and of course, herself.
The best thing about the book is this: Aza’s anxiety is real. Green has represented anxiety realistically, thankfully not spouting philosophical crap that no anxiety patient ever said. Aza’s character is painful and interesting and very, very real, and that is why I liked TATWD.
The relationships between the characters are also very authentic, whether it is Daisy and Holmesy or Aza and Davis or even Daisy and her artistic just-friend, Mychal.
However, an odd thing about John Green is that his characters are elementally constant, and this book is not an exception. From Will Grayson, Will Grayson to An Abundance of Katherines to Looking for Alaska, there is always the protagonist convinced s/he is a sidekick, the amusing sidekick who considers him/herself a hero in themselves, the weird but cute relationship of the protagonist with a person they either just met or had known and ignored completely for a long time.
There are also other John Green elements, like random bits of startling information (In one kiss you exchange some eighty million bacteria), wonderful BFF moments, heavens-above-I-ship-these-two moments (Dr Pepper? Wasn’t that your favorite soda? Note that this is coming from a guy who has not seen Holmesy in years.) And of course the tragedy that is mandatory to John Green’s books (Yep, still haven’t forgotten Augustus Waters.)
Anyway, TATWD is definitely a good read, if not one of John Green’s best. It is unquestionably on the recommended list, but not more recommended than Will Grayson, Will Grayson. WGWG is Green at his best, and his best is definitely much more than TATWD.