I’ve always been a John Green buff. All of his books reside beside my bed, and when Turtles All The Way Down came out, I knew I needed to get it. After reading it twice, I thought I would write a review about it, after seeing none on the forums.
Turtles All The Way Down starts off from the point of view of 16 year old Aza, a young woman with OCD. Aza struggles with an obsession of C.Diff that disrupts her daily life by causing her to constantly check that she doesn’t have C.Diff. John Green perfectly captures Aza’s OCD by using gross out descriptions of her thoughts. An example is when she’s eating lunch and starts thinking about how she could have C.Diff and it’s inside her stomach, inside her digestive tract that’s working to digest the peanut butter slime inside of her. By using grotesque descriptions, we can really start to understand what’s like having OCD.
Later in the book, we find out that Aza also cracks open a finger callus and constantly cleans it because of her fear of C.Diff. At one point, she has to pull over just to change her band aid because of her fear.
Having OCD also hindered Aza’s love life. After falling for a rich boy named Davis, whose father had just gone missing, she tries to kiss him but starts having what she’s calling a “thought spiral”, and starts freaking out that Davis gave her C.Diff. She walks to the bathroom, and eats hand sanitizer. By using this example, John Green stresses that OCD is a very serious disorder that shouldn’t be doubted or taken lightly. Shortly after, Aza gets in a car crash and is taken to the hospital. She again fears of C.Diff, and eventually eats more hand sanitizer to “cleanse” her mouth. The doctors fear for her life, and Aza’s therapist realized how dangerous Aza’s mental state was.
Overall, I think this book truly distinguished the disorder of OCD, and the many sides of it;not just the organization and cleaning freak stereotype we think of when hearing the disorder of OCD. By using gross descriptions, John Green really makes people without OCD truly understand their obsession, and how serious it is.