Turtles All the Way Down book review

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

I liked this book tons until the last couple of pages.

It relates a summer in the life of a teen girl with obsessive compulsive disorder and/or anxiety.

I thought Green conveyed dignity for the character suffering from the disorder(s) and did a great job illustrating “for the rest of us” what it may be like for someone suffering with the condition. Both achievements in depicting persons with mental illness are welcome and notable.

The writing was good and I have a vivid sense of the White River in Indianapolis and will remember a bit of it’s history forever. Few words, big impact. Well done, John Green.

My trouble was the last two pages, where there was a huge time warp and a somewhat depressing ending. Apparently I like happy endings and resolution. The protagonist doesn’t outgrow her mental illness, and struggles through her adult years. All this is covered in only a few paragraphs, which skips a lot of stuff I’m interested in (what happened to the lover/husband, the kids?).

Frankly, I think the book will launch more medical interest in developing better medications or cognitive therapies for people suffering from mental illnesses.

For all it’s realism, the resolution segment lacked a certain feel-good quality I prefer.

It’s my first John Green book.

My fifteen-year-old asked if anyone dies. She said someone always dies in a John Green. I told her “No.”

Upon reflection, there was a death, but it wasn’t a main character, more of a plot development.

With more reflection, perhaps John green has stuck to his reputation. While our protagonist doesn’t die physically, I felt great loss as she never-quite-made-it to the life she wanted. Heart-wrenching.

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