Turtles All The Way Down – John Green
I came to know of John Green way before he became popular with The Fault in Our Stars. He had an educational channel called ‘Crash Course’ which I used to watch with enthusiasm. I loved the characteristic style and witty humour in his videos and still do. In fact it actually didn’t strike me that it was the same person who wrote the bestseller TFIOS! But then again I don’t read too much of Young Adult fiction (almost none actually), so I could be excused?
Despite the fact that I really like John Green as a person and video blogger, this is the first book I am reading written by him. Turtles All the Way Down is his much awaited book released after a long wait of six years. Thus, the enthusiasm was highly predictable and well-hyped too.
|Some memorable quotes in this one too, as always with his books.|
It tells the story of Aza, a sixteen year old who, along with her fearless friend Daisy embarks on a quest to solve the mystery of a missing billionaire, Russell Pickett. In fact, it is Daisy who is enthusiastic on giving it a try since there is a cash reward for any information on him. Since Aza once knew Davis, the billionaire’s elder son, Daisy prods Aza into agreeing to dig into the mystery of his father’s disappearance and get that much needed reward money. So their adventure begins.
Aza though has a few more pressing problems. She has an anxiety disorder and is on medication as well as regular visits with her therapist. Aza has a needling anxiety that a cut on her finger will get infected and compulsively keeps changing the band aid on it. Her thoughts spiral inwards and leads to an inner turmoil that she cannot control. This part of her inner mind creates conflicts for how she reciprocates with those around her. This is something that the author purposefully chose and has done really well. He voices her thoughts and the way she it spirals out of control with an expertise of someone who is sensitive and understands the troubles of being afflicted with anxiety. Kudos to that!
Besides a troubled teen, this book probably also includes all the other significant markers of a typical YA fiction – a talkative, daring bestie who loves Star Wars, a concerned and caring mom, a love interest who loves gazing at stars and a mystery that ties them all in. However, it doesn’t create a successful formula for the most part (according to me). The plot seems to develop in a strained manner, there are gaping holes through it all. For instance, the younger brother Noah is a thirteen year old, but he is portrayed really childishly, crying and clinging on to his older brother who is in high school – not really much of an age gap there. Besides I have to wonder how two (mostly self-obsessed) teenagers could handle an investigation when the entire police force couldn’t get any clue as to the missing billionaire’s whereabouts.
I do wish it was a stronger and more evocative book, but it isn’t. It would have been interesting if there was some mystery left for us to solve – for eg: the reason behind the title. But that too is explained randomly as the story progresses (you can Google it too, or look at the inserted image :)).
All in all, I still like John Green, he is without doubt one of the nicest persons I have ever come across- genuine, funny, kind and caring. But this book is not his strongest yet.
Will look towards a better one in the future maybe?