BKMT READING GUIDES

No.
65


 
Informative,
Insightful,
Adventurous

4 reviews

Turtles All the Way Down
by John Green

Published: 2019-06-11
Paperback : 320 pages
56 members reading this now
57 clubs reading this now
8 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 4 members
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Introduction

THE INSTANT #1 BESTSELLER IS NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

FEATURED ON 60 MINUTES and FRESH AIR

“So surprising and moving and true that I became completely unstrung.” – The New York Times

Named a best book of the year by: The New York Times, NPR, TIME, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, Southern Living, Publishers Weekly, BookPage, A.V. Club, Bustle, BuzzFeed, Vulture, and many more!


JOHN GREEN, the acclaimed author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, returns with a story of shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Aza Holmes never intended to pursue the disappearance 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 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.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

ONE
At the time I first realized I might be fictional, my weekdays were spent at a publicly funded institution on the north side of Indianapolis called White River High School, where I was required to eat lunch at a particular time—-between 12:37 p.m. and 1:14 p.m.—by forces so much larger than myself that I couldn’t even begin to identify them. If those forces had given me a different lunch period, or if the tablemates who helped author my fate had chosen a different topic of conversation that September day, I would’ve met a different end—or at least a different middle. But I was -beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. John Green’s depiction of Aza’s mental health is different from what is often seen in literature and other media. How does Turtles All the Way Down change the way you think about mental health?

2. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “Green finds language to describe the indescribable.” What is the significance of having language to understand Aza’s experience? How does finding a vocabulary for the indescribable help people to connect?

3. Aza’s mental illness means it’s hard for her to see outside herself, which doesn’t always make her a good friend. How does that impact Daisy?

4. Was it a betrayal for Daisy to have created Ayala in her fan fiction as an outlet for her frustrations with Aza? Would Aza have been able to understand Daisy’s resentments if confronted with them directly?

5. Aza says, “Of course, you pretend to be the author. You have to . . . You think you’re the painter, but you’re the canvas.” As readers, we know Aza is narrating her own story. Once we start to tell our own stories, are we fictionalizing ourselves?

6. Davis and Aza have both lost a parent. How have they each processed grief? How does that common experience impact their relationship?

7. Harold—the car that once belonged to her father—and her father’s phone hold a lot of emotional significance for Aza. Why does interacting with those objects make Aza feel close to him ?

8. Several characters in the novel process their emotions through fiction and poetry. If you were to use a quote from this novel to begin an essay about your life, which would it be and why? What other literary quotes particularly resonant for you?

9. Daisy tells Aza, “Your privileges are just oxygen to you.” Money and privilege are central to the novel. How does economic status color each character’s experiences and decisions? Their understanding of themselves and others?

10. The last few paragraphs of Turtles All the Way Down zoom out to reframe Aza’s time perspective of her own story. How does this shift change the way you think about Aza? How does it change the way you think about mental illness?

11. Daisy says, “You pick your endings, and your beginnings. You get to pick the frame, you know? Maybe you don’t choose what’s in the picture, but you decide on the frame.” What does that mean to you?

12. The title, Turtles All the Way Down, refers to a theory of the universe. Aza and Daisy interpret this idea in different ways. How do you interpret Daisy’s story?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by kathikky@gmail.com (see profile) 10/07/19

 
by colburngj@embarqmail.com (see profile) 09/17/19

 
by briellesaracini@gmail.com (see profile) 08/29/19

 
by rileykbowers@icloud.com (see profile) 07/21/19

 
by efranceschi90@gmail.com (see profile) 05/31/19

 
by terbrenat1171@aol.com (see profile) 05/06/19

 
by jenmccomb8@yahoo.com (see profile) 03/27/19

 
by elisemreno@gmail.com (see profile) 02/26/19

 
by kirajenee24@gmail.com (see profile) 02/26/19

 
by iloveturtles@mac.com (see profile) 12/31/18

I found the narrative to be very interesting. I appreciated the look through Aza’s point of view.

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