In the book Turtles down there, follows the journey of Aza Holmes, a 16-year-old girl who sets out in search of a mysteriously missing billionaire – whoever finds him will receive a hefty cash reward – as she tries to deal with her own obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Full of references from the author's life - among them, the marked passion for pop culture and OCD, a mental disorder that has affected him since childhood -, Turtles down there it has everything that made John Green one of the most beloved contemporary authors. An incredible book, full of underlining phrases, that talks about lasting friendships and unexpected reunions, fanfics of Star Wars and why not? - peculiar New Zealand reptiles.
What I thought of Turtles down there
John Green he is without a doubt one of the most acclaimed authors by the children/youth public in recent times. And there's no doubting why this huge success.
Since the book The Fault is of the Stars, which was a great success both with the book and with the film - which in my opinion was very similar to the book, one of the best book adaptations. Since then, another release by the author was expected. And now after 6 years of waiting, John Green brings us, Turtles down there.
In this book we will know the Aza Holmes, a 16 year old girl, who along with her best friend, Daisy. They decide to investigate the disappearance of a billionaire who mysteriously disappeared. All this, in search of the reward of 100 thousand dollars. And as Aza met the son of this billionaire a few years ago, everything will be easier!
However it will not be that simple, because in the case of John Green, a small booklet can and will bring up big questions. Our protagonist, Aza, suffers from OCD (obsessive - compulsive disorder) which in itself brings great challenges.
With a super calm narrative, John Green literally puts us inside Aza's head, passing us every thought of the character and every dilemma she faces with the issue of OCD and anxiety, which she doesn't abandon at any time. What takes this book out of the YA classification only. Because it doesn't just portray teenage romance. On the contrary, I thought that this theme was left aside and was focused more on the obstacles in which the protagonist has to "overcome" to achieve a "normal" life. Or at least, act in a way that she feels she is really in control of her life.
In Turtles down there, Aza gives us a completely different view of life and things that for most of us go unnoticed. We end up feeling and experiencing some things in different, more intense ways.
The novel itself, and the disappearance dilemma in my view, has been somewhat left out, I think these two aspects could have been further explored. I read waiting for these parts - I confess.
However, the narrative and the way in which philosophical and even moral questions were asked in some parts made a big difference. As you might expect with John Green. For he always manages to connect philosophical, nerdy, and even mathematical ideas (as was done in Katherine's Theorem).
I even separated some Quotes from this book, which is full of impactful phrases!
Quotes from Turtles down there
“The point about the spiral is that, if we follow it, it never ends. It just tapers, infinitely. ”
“One of the challenges of pain, whether physical or psychic, is that we can only approach it through metaphors. We cannot represent it as we do with a table or a body. In a way, pain is the opposite of language. ”
“I can sum up in three words everything I've learned about life: Life goes on. And we continue too, when the current is in our favor and also when it is not. Or at least that's what I mentally whispered to myself. "
"Break hearts, but don't break promises."
“We are the narrator, the protagonist and the supporting actor. The storyteller is the story itself. We are something of someone, but also our self. ”
“… It was very weird and depressing the idea that I would only be a normal person if I ingested certain substances that could change who I was.”
"The real terror is not being afraid, it is having no choice but to feel it."
“We choose our endings and our beginnings. We can choose the frame, you know? We may not even decide what appears in the photo, but the frame is the person who decides. ”
Get ready to feel like Aza Holmes
As I already said, this book takes you inside Aza's head, and there's no escape from feeling what she felt.
You will start to imagine what some attitude of yours can affect your health, for example. And this is, in my view, a very valid experience.
Because, with each passing day we see more people with some type of psychological disorder, be it, depression, anxiety, OCD, Bipolar disorder ... There are so many, and many times they are seen by many as a weakness, or even a form “anti-socialism”. And it's not!
The person who goes through something like this, suffers a lot, most of the time suffers in silence for fear of teasing or something. And what these people need is support, friendship, and the main thing: Treatment. This treatment is found free of charge in most cities. In my state (GO) the places for this type of treatment are called CAPS. And the search for treatment and the use of medicines will not make you a person inferior to others, on the contrary, it will give you an improvement in life and self-knowledge.
“It can be a long and difficult path, but mental disorders are treatable. There is hope, even if your brain tells you not. ”
Final considerations of Turtles down there
Turtles down there are worth reading. Due to her in-depth subject in terms of her character's feelings and afflictions.
However, if you are looking for romance or adventure this would not be the most appropriate book. John Green's books like: Blame it on the stars would be the most appropriate in a matter of romance and the Paper city in a matter of adventure.