Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green

Turtles all the way down

A stomach bug was plaguing me when I picked-up Turtles All The Way Down, so the first pages were a bit of a rough start. But I managed to push through, overcome my nausea and excessive sweatiness, and read. This is another book I won’t let my kids read until they are a little older (swearing and worldview), but I really hope that they eventually do read it (maybe next year for Maile).

Sometimes John Green inspires me, but not. He is super interesting, insightful, intelligent, and his rapid-fire thinking is fantastic. However, I also feel that sometimes he can be a bit harsh, a little too honest (which is actually refreshing, too), and ever-so-slightly condescending: it’s not that I don’t like him. I really do like him, just in an irritated sort of way.

Also, John Green and I see the world differently, but I am grateful that I got a glimpse of the world through his eyes. It was refreshing, sobering, and beautiful in unexpected ways.

What I remember most: “Anybody can look at you. It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world as you.”

Mental Illness: Aza’s spirals felt real, and John did an amazing job of taking us on a journey into her struggles. There was something deeply comforting about seeing the struggle put into a story, on paper.

Friendship: I’m not sure if friendships like Daisy’s and Aza’s can be real, but it was nice to imagine it for a while. Aza and Harold’s relationship felt much more plausible.

Quotes: The quotes and poetry and interpretations thereof were one of the highlights of the book for me. I felt like I learned and saw so much. I’m super grateful for all those passages. I will likely re-read and think about these, as well as the text that accompanies them, much more.

Money: I loved the sober perspective on money (spoiler alert) – especially Davis valuing his brother’s heart over seven years of plenty. I admit to feeling judgemental about Daisy’s spending and then feeling bad about judging her before understanding her.

God: In this respect, Turtles All the Way Down was a struggle for me to read. John’s story, to me, seemed saturated with an absence of faith, or even a rejection of faith. And John expresses his thoughts so beautifully: that’s what made this even harder. Beautiful friendships, stars, sky, light, love – but God? The story, though beautiful, felt hopeless. Our worldviews are so different, I think.

Plot: I enjoyed the simplicity of the plot, and how it allowed me to see the characters and their relationships. It was a touch predictable, but that helped the story. It didn’t take away from it at all. It was a total page-turner.

Voice: While I don’t follow John and his brother’s vlog too closely, I can still hear John’s voice, and sometimes it was hard for me to hear Aza’s voice through John’s voice. There were times when I was lost in her character, but others when I could clearly hear John speaking.

Characters: I’m running out of time to write, but Noah and Davis were the characters that pulled on my heartstrings the most. The brotherly love, how much Davis loved Noah. I loved that part.




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