Turtles All the Way Down: Book Review

Title: Turtles All The Way Down

Author: John Green

Publisher: Dutton Books

Copyright Date: 2017


“You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person, and why.” (Green 283)

Aza Holmes had enough trouble trying to get through high school and battling her own anxious thoughts without the drama of a missing billionaire to complicate things. Just before he was arrested, Russell Pickett went missing. He left behind a fortune, an exotic pet, and two sons (and he ranked their importance in that order.)

With a hundred thousand dollars on the line, Aza’s best friend, Daisy, is convinced that the two can solve the mystery. Daisy enlists the help of Aza because she used to be friends with the billionaire’s son, Davis, back when they spent their summers together at “Sad Camp.”

After reconnecting with Davis Pickett, Aza learns that wealth isn’t everything. Davis grew up fed by a silver spoon yet he experienced grief and loneliness akin to her own. As the two grow closer Davis begins to break down the wall of anxiety that Aza has built around herself. Together with her closest friends, Aza focused on Russell Pickett’s disappearance while also working through her internal demons.

Lately, some of my favorite books have been based on mental illness. When We Collided by Emery Lord and Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley were phenomenal books that dove into issues of anxiety, depression, and grief in an honest way. I felt like John Green also did a good job covering topics that teens wrestle with in an authentic light. In the Acknowledgements at the end of the book he provided resources for those struggling with mental health and admitted to his own struggles that were reflected in Aza’s character.

Mental illness has been a trending topic both in writing and the media. With recent suicides in Hollywood a lot of energy has been focused on getting people the help that they need. As someone with diagnosed anxiety, I found myself relating to Aza on some level while also being inspired to push past my fears in order to avoid situations she faced.

I’m a fan of John Green. I liked The Fault In Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, and Paper Towns. In my Honors History classes, I occasionally show clips from his Crash Course Youtube channel where John Green and his brother explain eras of history in their own quirky way. When I first started teaching, his books were all the rage, but with his movie deals and Youtube Channel it’s been a while since he released a book. Last year when this book came out I added it to the top of my To-Read list on Goodreads. Thankfully, I finally had the opportunity to read this one. It was a quick read, and totally worth every minute. At times, the main character really annoyed me, but it helped me to see what anxiety can be like for the people surrounded by it. Mental illness affects far more than just your mind. Relationships feel the tremors and fallout associated with the internal battles we all face.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

My First Tattoo

My God has been my anchor during a tough and tiring time in my life. It’s been a period of health issues and anxiety. I’ve been tossed in the waves of uncertainty and I’ve nearly sank a time or two. But each time I reached out to my God he gently guided me to shore. Whether that was through a word of peace, a friendly encounter, or the strong and safe arms of my husband. I felt God numerous times holding me these past few months. Beckoning me to rest and just breathe. And so I decided after some contemplation that I wanted to have a permanent reminder of the love, hope, and safety I find when I seek God in all things. With that in mind I set out to find a tattoo that would commemorate this time period.

Ask me a couple years ago if I would ever get a tattoo and I would have quickly brushed it off with an, “I doubt it.” But in my mind I was never closed off to the idea. I just knew that if I was ever going to make a permanent decision it would have to be based on a piece that was significant enough to warrant residency on my skin.

With everything I’ve gone through, I felt drawn to the reminder of the anchor as it represents what God has been for me during this time. So it is with all of this in mind that I chose to get my first tattoo. And when choosing where to put it…I didn’t want to hide it. God’s peace is nothing to be ashamed of and he’s provided me a pretty awesome testimony that wants sharing. So on my prominent forearm is where I’ve chosen to make this reminder a home. It’s a reminder if I ever try to reach for something else that God really is the only one to quiet the rough waters. It is a reminder at all times that no greater peace is found than the one provided by my God. Some days my fear was so crippling that it is because of Him alone that I was able to continue to breathe. God has been my strength and will continue to be. And that is the story behind my first tattoo.

It’s been a year since I last wrote on my blog. A lot has happened between my last submission and now, and one day I hope to share much of that journey with you. I’m still working through a lot, but a few things I know–I am blessed beyond measure, I am surrounded by people who love me, I have a beautiful family that I couldn’t possibly love any more than I do, and my God has never forsaken me during any step of this crazy life.

The Ameri Brit Mom