Thursday, September 13, 2018

Nicole Speaks: Turtles All The Way Down by: John Green

Every now and then my sister drops by the blog to join me in my book rambling and share her thoughts. 
If you want to know more about Nicole, click here.
Release Date: October 10, 2017
from Dutton Books for Young Readers
Goodreads | Amazon

"Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship."

Nicole Speaks:

I have read books about vampires, zombies, aliens and every monster under the sun, but none have ever crept into my brain and nested in my mind quite like the villain of this story; Azas’ anxiety.  I am not proud to admit how much I relate to Aza in this book.  That is not a good thing, but it is something I have been accepting and working to overcome, long before I began reading this story.  Aza struggles with severe anxiety that disrupts her ability to live her everyday life.  She is crippled by thoughts surrounding germs, illnesses and her own impending death.  Her mental health issues caused her fear over her physical health.

As I read this book, I found myself screaming how terrible of a friend Daisy was to Aza.  Daisy is the embodiment of my fears.  She is how I imagine every “friend” I have feels about me.  She refers to Aza as her “best friend and greatest burden,” and as “exhausting.”  Reading this felt like a punch to the chest.  Depression is not an easy thing to live with.  Anxiety can be suffocating.  You live life feeling as Aza puts it, “clueless, helpless, useless.  Less.”  When someone tells you you’re “exhausting” or in my own personal experience “draining,” you’re overcome with a confusing mix of emotions; anger, guilt, sadness.  But that is why this book felt so important to me.  Daisy isn’t really a terrible friend, and Aza isn’t a horrible person.  Mental health issues are exhausting, and while you’re own world feels too much to handle, sometimes you forget that other people are living their own lives around you too.  Daisy and Aza’s friendship reminds you that you cannot fully understand what someone else is feeling.  They may not understand what you are going through, and you may not understand their point of view, but that does not make their feelings any less real or valid.

This book was especially important to me because so often books about mental health show this great journey to recovery, and while seeing the light at the end of the tunnel can be helpful and encouraging, seeing Aza struggle to live with her issues and move forward, felt much more realistic.  Recovery isn’t always easy, quick, or permanent, but it is so important to remember that working towards becoming a healthier you, is progress.  You may trip and fall along the way, but “you pick your endings, and your beginnings,” and as long as you get back up, you will be one step closer to being okay. 

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