Sunday, 28 October 2018

I’ve started a YouTube channel!

Hey guys! I’ve finally bitten the bullet and decided to start a YouTube channel. In all honesty, this isn’t the best or most polished video but as you all know by now, I’m not necessarily the most polished at blogging either but I do th see things because I’m passionate about my interests, rather than because I want to make money (I don’t make any from blogging haha) but please do have a look at my video, let me know any comments, good or bad as I’d love to know what you think and how I can improve! I’ll see you guys again soon! :)

Friday, 19 October 2018

Book Review: Turtles All The Way Down

After reading countless rave reviews about this book, I decided to read it. Written in first person by sixteen year old Aza, we see everything through her eyes. Her life is fairly standard, although she lives her every minute haunted by a mental illness. From the outset, her life doesn't seem to be unbearably difficult as she has a caring, supportive mother and a best friend, Daisy who always makes time for her, even if she has to balance work and School work around Aza. In terms of School work, Aza never seems to struggle, actively completing homework and ensuring that she talks to her mother about how she feels whether at home or elsewhere. The meetings with her therapist were interesting to read as whenever she tried to explain how she was feeling both the inner voices in her head would reply and her therapist, which added to the understanding of how she must feel having to live alongside a constant inner muttering of unnecessary thoughts at every moment. Unfortunately, her condition makes her incredibly selfish, making it hard to sympathise with her at times.

The strongest part of this book was how realistically Aza struggled to live with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder alongside severe anxiety and how this affected those closest to her. Although this was a secondary part of the plot, it was actually the most memorable thing; how her chance at dating was scuppered by her fear of germs and catching diseases; it did seem extreme but that is an honest portrayal of the Disorder. The lengths that she takes to limit germs and contact with others was difficult to read, particularly as the writing style showed her deepest, most difficult to handle thoughts. Describing her every day life, as a reader you witness her need to constantly check out articles on her phone relating to the spread of bacterial infections, how once a thought is planted into her mind the thoughts just get louder and wilder until she acts upon the irrational thoughts that demand an intense need for cleanliness and sanitiser. The little things, such as the cover of the novel representing spiraling thoughts of Aza's mind, the thoughts that she's unable to ignore, even when she wants to, really helps to demonstrate how possessive the Disorder can be.

The introduction of Davis, a childhood friend added another level to the story, alongside Daisy's relationship with Mychel; however I liked that the romance side of things didn't take over the plot. Davis and his younger brother, Noah find themselves in an uncomfortable situation that Noah in particular genuinely can't cope with; your heart breaks just by reading about his plight. Both boys are fragile, but unfortunately so is Aza and so the potential of a relationship between her and Davis seems like an impossible dream. Aza's condition make her completely and utterly self-absorbed, although unintentionally, which is why it is so easy to feel sorry for her; she adores her friends and family but her mind doesn't allow her to escape or relax. Daisy is the best friend that many people would dream of as although she can be harsh and at times cruel due to frustration at the friend she loves being so selfish, however intentionally. That said, Daisy is very supportive and does her best to understand Aza even at her worst moments, when Aza doesn't understand herself.

Overall, I found this book to be an interesting read; I have a bit of love/hate relationship with John Green's novels if I'm honest. His ideas are always excellent, although I feel like the execution could be better and that has thus far has unfortunately rang true for each of the books that I've read by the author at this point. The portrayal of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and extreme Anxiety was beautiful, it was definitely the strongest part of the plot, as you were also shown how others respond to mental heath too, but in this case it literally took over the majority of the book. It was great to see a average teenager living through her mental health problems, but the execution of the plot felt clumsy, there was a lot of things going on; investigations, mental health, relationships... All in all, it was a good read as it portrayed mental illness both carefully and realistically, but the other themes were a bit confusing as they all mixed in together, although that could also because the reader sees into the narrators mind and that is how she sees the world. This book had a lot of potential, the writing was good, but not outstanding. As much as it was a compelling read, it was only a 3 star as the ending didn't wow me and I just had too many questions and not enough answers, sadly.

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