It’s been a LONG time since I’ve shared anything I’ve been “in love with” and even longer since I shared any book reviews… So I’ve decided it’s time to start up a new blogging segment called Geekin’ Out where I get to share something I’m kind of obsessed with at the moment. It feels pretty appropriate for me because I’m definitely a geek and often the things I get super excited about are pretty nerdy or goofy or part of one of my fandoms! So today I’m going to share a book that I’m OBSESSED with!!!
If you’ve been here a while, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of John and Hank Green, a couple brothers who have a youtube channel called the vlogbrothers… among a slew of other things. Well John is an author of some really fantastic young adult fiction novels. I loved his books Abundance of Katherines and The Fault in Our Stars. And I had been looking forward to when he finally managed to complete another book. I can only imagine how hard it is to write a book… let alone an amazing book… so I wasn’t in rush for it. I was just excited for when it finally arrived.
Well it arrived and I had it ordered but I hadn’t had time to read it until a couple weeks ago. And oh my gosh you guys!! It’s fantastic!! Seriously – I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!!! I read it in two days and honestly could have finished it in one if I’d had one full day off to do it. But! UGH!! It’s amazing!
It’s the story of a high schooler who lives with OCD and it’s beautiful in it’s depiction of one person’s experience. I think one of the reasons this book is so great is that I know John pulled from his own life. I’ve heard him share similar thought patterns, anxieties, and concerns on his podcast so seeing them in the book helped convey an even stronger reality of what that’s like. The sharing of what this young girl’s intrusives (obsessive thoughts) are like and how she has internal arguments and what those look/sound like is brilliant. I feel like he did an exceptional job of trying to help share what the experience of someone with OCD is like with those of us who do not have personal experience. And that’s such a HARD thing to do! It’s so hard to convey your internal experience to someone else… I think that’s why I’m so in love with this book.
And while yes – a huge part of the book is about Aza and her experience, there, as always, are so many beautiful ideas and moments in the book that I just LOVE! I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who decides to read it but I do want to share a few of my favorite quotes. Because I realize that often the quotes I love aren’t the ones you see selected by the masses. So here are just a few of my favorites:
“I was beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell.”
“It’s a weird phrase in English, in love, like it’s a sea you drown in or a town you live in. You don’t get to be in anything else—in friendship or in anger or in hope. All you can be in is love. And I wanted to tell him that even though I’d never been in love, I knew what it was like to be *in* a feeling, to be not just surrounded by it but also permeated by it…”
“I wanted to tell her that I was getting better, because that was supposed to be the narrative of illness: It was a hurdle you jumped over, or a battle you won. Illness is a story told in the past tense.”
“And if you can’t pick what you do or think about, then maybe you aren’t really real, you know? Maybe it’s just a lie that I’m whispering to myself.”
“One of the challenges with pain–physical or psychic–is that we can really only approach it through metaphor. It can’t be represented the way table or a body can. In some ways, pain is the opposite of language.”
“We’re such language-based creatures that to some extent we cannot know what we cannot name. And so we assume it isn’t real. We refer to it with catch-all terms, like crazy or chronic pain, terms that both ostracize and minimize. The term chronic pain captures nothing of the grinding, ceaseless, inescapable hurt. And the term crazy arrives at us with none of the terror and worry you live with. Nor do either of those terms connote the courage people in such pains exemplify, which is why I’d ask you to frame your mental health around a word other than crazy.”
“You are as real as anyone, and your doubts make you more real, not less.”
“His face appeared, gray in the ghostlight of his phone, and I held a finger up to my mouth and whispered, “Shh,” and we watched each other in silence, our barely light, more intimate than I could ever be in real life. As I looked at his face looking at mine, I realized the light that made him visible to me came mostly from a cycle: Our screens were lighting each of us with light from the other’s bedroom. I could only see him because he could see me. In the fear and excitement of being in front of each other that grainy silver light, it felt like I wasn’t really in my bed and he wasn’t really in his. Instead we were inside the other’s consciousness, a closeness that real life with its real bodies could never match.”
So if you’re looking for a new book to read… I HIGHLY recommend snagging a copy of Turtles All the Way Down!