- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 12 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Listening Library
- Audible.com Release Date: October 10, 2017
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English, English
- ASIN: B074F3T529
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Turtles All the Way Down Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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It’s the most powerful and open book about mental illness that I have read, and it’s required reading for everyone, but especially those who don’t understand the intensity of OCD and extreme anxiety. It is unlike any of his other work, but it’s still funny and it’s still so so sad, but it’s also Green’s OWN struggle.
Go read his interview with NYT and try to tell me you didn’t want to cry.
And if I see even ONE “but it’s not like TFIOS” whiny review…….don’t get me started.
Read this book. Work through the discomfort. Honor his pain.
Now that you are utterly confused, read on if any one you love struggles with mental illness.
I hated this book for a lot of reasons. I hated it because the characters in it bug the crap out of me. Worse than some of the more annoying people in my real life. I hated it because there are things stylistically I wanted from this author, because he is one of my favorite authors, and those things, stylistically, were not really there.
I hate it because my greatest fear in life is of spiraling into uncontrollable mental illness, and the book puts you inside the head of someone who has a spiraling mental illness, and it does so with just an eerie amount of accuracy, and I don't want to be inside that spiral. It is too scary inside that spiral.
And I hate this book most of all because some of the people I love most in life, people who truly own parts of my soul, live inside that spiral far too often, and it hurts deep down to be reminded of that. I don't like to read books that make me hurt. I usually avoid them at all costs. If I start one, and discover it is that kind of book, I don't often finish it.
But this book is by John Green, with whom I have a relationship that is hard to explain. Because so much of the history minutiae I have memorized is from Crash Course videos, he is the voice inside my head when I think of history. He is much smarter than me, which I admire, and a phenomenal writer, which I envy. So I had to finish the book.
I absolutely love this book because revealing your inner demons in such vivid reality is incredibly brave, and that makes him a hero in my eyes. John Green suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (which is not ever named in the book, but it is painted in horrifically detailed words throughout). People don't talk about mental illness enough, but here he is revealing his inmost self. And yes, it is him. He has been doing interviews about it and whatnot. The doctor the protagonist sees in the book is even similarly named to his own doctor, whom he thanks in the acknowledgements. John Green has a credibility with teenagers that is pretty hard to establish, and as a result, millions of teenagers are going to read this book. That might not seem a small thing, but it might mean that perhaps the world will understand mental illness just a little bit better. For that, John Green is my hero.
Read at your own risk.
And I am still crying.
However, that being said, I felt there wasn't much of a narrative. The whole trying to get the reward for the missing criminal, who just happens to be the father of a friend from long ago 'sad camp' just made no sense to me. The supporting characters didn't stand out all that much either (hence, why I can't even remember their names when I started the book last night and finished it this morning) and weren't terribly likable, either, nor were their motivations understandable.
While I did appreciate that he didn't tie everything up with a happy little bow at the end, but was realistic in showing that, yes, mental illness is something you live with and fight (or don't) your entire life, but there are still moments of happiness, was great - but her rationale for Aza choosing to write *this* story down didn't seem to connect to her life as an adult. She chose this particular period of her life to write about because ... I was never really clear on that.
Because Green's books are usually so well-written, I can't help but wonder if he did write from personal experience, and was maybe too close to the subject to write with the clear writer's eye he usually has.
“…What I want to say to you, Holmesy, is that yes, you are exhausting, and yes, being your friend is work. But you are also the most fascinating person I have ever known, and you are not like mustard. You are like pizza, which is the highest compliment I can pay a person.”
That is exactly how I feel. It is work to have a best friend dealing with mental illness, but it’s totally and completely worth it.
Unlike some of John Green’s other books, Turtles All the Way Down wasn’t overly heart in a blendery (the end is kind of heartbreaking, but not on a TFiOS or Looking for Alaska level). It was, however, raw and honest. I don’t think an author without OCD himself could’ve written those thought spirals and Aza’s actions to be so real. I highly recommend this book to YA fans and pretty much everyone else. It’s really an excellent book.