9th class, Turtles all the way down
With Žan and Lučka we were dicussing the book by John Green: Turtles all the way down. Here are some thoughts that they put down about the main character Aza and her friends. There are also their thoughts about the book.
Aza has OCD which is an abbreviation for obsessive-compulsive disorder. It means that she has a tendency to think or worry too much about a particular thing.
The book is available in our school library and you are welcome to borrow and read it.
Turtles all the way down
Putting her experience, thoughts and feelings into a story helped Aza in getting better from OCD because if there is a story, you can change it.
At first and through most of the story her thoughts were controlling her. She wasn’t able to pick one thought over another and she wasn’t able to erase a bad thought. It was easier to fight thoughts when she put them in the story because then she was aware that she is the storyteller and not the story told.
Aza is different from other characters in a book. But not from the outside. From the outside she is a normal person. Her character is normal too. Many teenagers are shy, insecure nowadays. And because they are shy they don’t talk much when in a room with a lot of people. In a novel Davis was insecure too.
Aza is very different from Daisy. Daisy and Aza are complete opposites. Aza on one side is shy, paranoid and she doesn’t communicate much. Daisy on the other side is open, not shy because it isn’t a problem for her to talk to random people. She talks enough for both, her and Aza.
Aza is different in her head because of OCD. Well, we are all different in our heads. But she can’t control her thoughts or pick a thought over another and people without OCD can pick thoughts and put thoughts away. And that is why her story is different.
The book had effects on me. I was surprised that they have to go through metal detector before school. I was also surprised how much money their collages are. Well for them this is normal but for us in Europe it is not because we have free collages. My perspective on school changed. Now I look on school like on a privilege because in America not everyone can afford it.
After I read the book I was more informed about mental disorders than before. I didn’t even know about OCD. But now I know what OCD is and what OCD can cause.
Turtles all the way down
Aza is always kind of trapped. She is trapped with feelings, emotions, sometimes even her body. She thinks a lot, she feels a lot, she is always in the middle of something. But when you put something into a story you have to sort it, put it in some order. You sometimes have to take a more distanced look on something to see it clearly. And I think that’s how putting everything into a story helped her. Through the story she always thinks about what’s wrong with her and what she should or shouldn’t do, wants or doesn’t want to do or think. Davis understands her and the feeling when she feels like she is trapped in a spiral and can’t get out.
But at the end of the book Daisy tells her the story about the scientist and the woman who told him that the Earth lies on a giant turtle. he asked her where that turtle stands then and the woman told him that it stands on another turtle and another and another… Daisy wanted to tell Aza that it’s »turtles all the way down« and that her spiral doesn’t end so she should stop turning in the spiral, stop looking for the first turtle but to be where she is, look at things in the moment. That’s why at the end she’s not so trapped anymore and she is more certain about some things, for example leaving Davis. She holds his hand and tells him what things are like. She sees her problems more from a distance and that helped her.
As I said, Aza thinds all the time. A lot of her thinking also consists of comparing herself to others. She doesn’t feel normal. She thinks other people are normal, but not her. She sees that she acts different from some people and she always compares herself to them. She sometimes thinks what it would be like if she was a normal person and what she would do differently in that case. For example when she is with Davis she knows that the way she deals with touching and kissing him isn’t very ordinary. Her story is definitely different because of OCD. But dealing with stuff in some other way than people usually do is not nearly crazy, not allowed or bad. It’s great that we are different so we can learn from each other. Maybe it’s great for Aza and Daisy. Aza learns how to be »normal« and Daisy learns to be more tolerant towards some stuff. So her story being different because of OCD is not bad, it actually brings a lot of positive effects too.
Exactly the fact that Aza is different because of OCD made me think a lot. I started to be more aware of my thoughts and feelings and the fact that I can or can’t control them. I tried to understand Aza and see what she feels like. I have realized that she fights a lot every day and that it’s hard for her, but she still tries. I also see that my thoughts are definitely not so complicated as hers. Sometimes Aza’s stressing over things annoyed me because I tried to feel like I was in her position and I couldn’t take so much thinking and fear. But that also made me want to be even more tolerant towards people like that because they have a different view on some things and that’s great although it’s hard for them and people around them.