Most college-aged people remember what a phenomenon John Green was during the release of his book “Fault in Our Stars,” the heartbreaking romance tragedy about teenagers battling cancer. John Green is back with a new book entitled “Turtles All the Way Down.” This is his first book published since the release of “Fault in Our Stars” in 2012.
In “Turtles All the Way Down,” Green explores the mind of a teenage girl with high anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This novel, in a lot of ways, is just like the average John Green novel, featuring a whimsical teenage adventure including a lot of problems, though fun and quirky problems. A young girl, Aza, is thrust into finding a criminal that has escaped the police for a reward of $100,000. This novel has a darker side, not unlike Green to do, but this novel is especially deep. “Turtles All the Way Down” delves into the dark and never-ending thoughts of a teenage girl, who cannot control her own obsessive compulsive thoughts and, in a lot of ways, is ruled by them.
This novel has created a conversation about teenage struggles that go beyond the physical. This is perhaps why the book has been met with such an enthusiastic response amongst not just young adults but adults as well. The people who read books like “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Looking for Alaska” are now no longer a part of the young adult age group, yet they are still enthralled by the coming-of-age genre that is written so eloquently and humorously in many of John Green’s books.
Here in Greensboro, there was a strong response from the public by the release of this new book. On Oct. 9, Scuppernong Books in downtown Greensboro had a John Green Extravaganza event in order to celebrate the Oct. 10 book release of “Turtles All the Way Down.” The event started with a showing of “The Fault in Our Stars” at the Carolina Theatre and then moved to Scuppernong for a book release party, where the first 40 purchasers received a signed copy.
There is a lot of dialogue being presented in the world today commentating on mental illness and representing it in the media. Green describes a mentally ill teenager who is dealing with issues that one does not have to experience to understand. The humanness of this novel is something that most people, no matter age or background, could feel empathy towards.
“Turtles All the Way Down” is an expression used to describe how the earth is an infinite regress, as in something is always supported by something else, creating a long interconnection of events. The turtle metaphor is used to explain that the world is carried by a chain of turtles that become progressively bigger, making it turtles all the way down. The title is used to describe the infinite series of inner observances that Aza experiences. Her compulsive thoughts are infinite and become larger and more demanding as they continue to take hold of her mind.
Since the book’s release only a few days ago, the reviews seem to be mostly positive. It is described as “deeply resonant and powerful” by School Library Journal. The New York Times describes it as “a wrenching and revelatory novel.” This being said, it is safe to say this book should not be passed as the average, unrelatable young adult novel.
Green’s new aggressively human novel adds to the discourse on mental illness and its constant presence in the world today. The book is out in stores and is available for pickup at any local bookstore, so be sure to grab a copy of Green’s latest novel and become a part of the mental health dialogue.