John Green is not an author I have ever been tempted to read before, and even though I like ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ I’m not tempted to read anything else by him. It is nothing personal but he just doesn’t write books that suit my tastes.
However, I’ve always been open to trying new authors, and John Green has always been on my radar to try if the right book came along. When I heard his latest book is about a teenager living with an anxiety disorder, I knew I had finally found a book by this popular author that I might enjoy.
And I wasn’t wrong.
The story doesn’t go quite in the direction you think it is going to go when Aza and her best friend Daisy start a man-hunt for a missing billionaire in order to claim the reward. However, Green has written a character going through anxiety that is bloody brilliant.
I have read non-fiction books about mental illness before, some of them a bit clinical and others by the likes of Matt Haig and Susan Calman which are more personable.
The character of Aza though spoke to me in a way nothing has managed to before; she thinks like I think, though a bit more extreme, and the toll her illness takes on her family and friends is relatable. If anyone wants to know what it is like having a mental illness then they need to read this book. It won’t give you insight into what depression and any number of other disorders and illnesses can be like, but it will let you know what experiencing uncontrollable anxiety can be like.
And if nothing else it will more certainly give you insight into how difficult it is for anyone to have a mental illness. As easy as it is for people to say, ‘just stop thinking about it then’ this book is a very accessible way of seeing doing that is one of the most difficult things in the world.
I highly recommend this book; I couldn’t stop put it down while I was reading, and I longed to be able to pick it up and carry on reading it at times when I couldn’t (for instance in order to work and sleep). It’s great, and while I will never be a fan of John Green, I am an admirer of what he has achieved with this book.