The Devil on your left shoulder and an Angel on your right is a reference commonly made in pop culture today. However, for people living with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), it’s more like there’s one person on your left shoulder telling you something catastrophic will happen if you don’t complete your daily rituals and a person on your right shoulder telling you that you’re being completely irrational. It’s a daily struggle within yourself to perform even the most simple tasks. This is the reality Y.A. novelist John Green explains in his newest book, “Turtles All The Way Down“.


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Not only does the main character, Aza Holmes, suffer from severe OCD, but Green himself has expressed his frustrations with the mental illness. He allowed himself to open up about the effects OCD has had in his life and brought a lot of the same details to Aza herself, making the character relatable. He explains it perfectly in the video below.

Since I was 18 years old I have been balancing my own daily routine with the ominous thoughts that try to attach themselves to my every action. Being almost 30 now, I have come to accept how my mind works, but I am very aware of its limitations as well. Reading “Turtles All The Way Down” became a difficult task for me to complete without having thoughts like, “Well she does have a point, washing my hands one more time isn’t hurting anything.”

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Picture Source: Janet Severance

I have to admit I was a little afraid of the affects reading this book would have on me and my progress, but I read a quote in “TATWD” that I found to be the perfect description of what I was feeling.

“True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice on the matter.”

I think a lot of people will relate to this story, whether or not OCD has touched their lives. The detail and creativity, combine with Green’s experience on the subject make for a very compelling read. Aza wasn’t my favorite character. I found her to be a bit hard to follow, but her best friend Daisy Ramirez (who writes Star Wars fan fiction) was both supportive and sharp-witted. Green has really done it again with “TATWD”!

Below I have posted me speaking briefly about the novel and how it relates to me. Even though it was a slight struggle for me, I highly recommend this book for everyone. Green is a compelling author with amazing skills at creating a word portal that sucks us into the body of the characters. Make sure to add this to your “Must Read” list!