Turtles All The Way Dow

“At the time I first realized I might be fictional…”

What an intriguing first line to this novel. Much later in the story, the connection to this statement will be revealed.

I had heard this book was about a girl with OCD, which would be interesting in itself, but John Green weaves in so much more into this story.

Sixteen-year-old Aza struggles with thought spirals, compulsive thoughts that wind themselves deeper until she can’t think of anything else. When a 100,000 dollar reward is offered for the whereabouts of a fugitive billionaire, Aza and her hacking friend, Daisy, decide to investigate. In their favor, Aza was once friends with the billionaire’s son, Davis.

The reader gains insights into Aza’s problem and comes away with a new compassion for those who struggle with such disorders. We experience Aza’s world of OCD through her experiences.

But another storyline is just as compelling.

We glimpse the suffering of Davis and his younger brother. They live in a mansion with everything material wise they could ever desire. Not only have lost their dad, but they have never had a healthy relationship with their always distant father. As Davis says, “…he really disappeared a long time ago.”

One part of the story bothered me. Davis refers to booze, money, God, and fame as rotting people from the inside. In a real relationship with God comes strength, hope, and love. I didn’t like God being thrown in with the problems related to booze, money, and fame.

Aza and Davis find themselves attracted to each other. Aza’s compulsive thoughts affect their relationship and drive them apart at times. Davis, in his loneliness, remains compassionate, but is troubled with the thought that Aza may only be after the reward. He comes up with a solution to the problem in order to determine if Aza truly likes him.

When Aza reads Daisy’s online stories, she recognizes herself in one of the fictional characters. Aza realizes that her disorder makes her irritating to anyone she is in a relationship with. Her friendship with Daisy is tested.

Aza’s problems intensify, and she lands in the hospital. Without giving away any spoilers, I’ll just say her disorder leads her to some very strange actions.

Davis writes poetry online under an assumed name and also comments on other poets. His poetry is powerful.

John Green writes a moving, compassionate story in Turtles All The Way Down. Highly recommend!


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