John Green, TATWD

John Green’s New Novel Inspired by His Own Experiences With OCD

By now, you’ve probably heard of John Green’s newest book, Turtles all the Way Down. But did you know that, unlike his other novels, this work comes from Green’s real life experience? Green’s personal struggle with mental illness enabled him to candidly write from the perspective of sixteen-year-old Aza.


In TATWD, Aza is overwhelmed by compulsive thoughts and anxiety the same way that Green has been his entire life. From a young age, he’s battled with OCD and anxiety. TATWD came to be after Green had one particularly bad spell with his illnesses. He told the New York Times, “Coming out of that, it was difficult to write about anything else.”


John Green

Image Via NY Times


Anyone who’s experienced either affliction knows how inexplicably debilitating they can be. The smallest tasks seem impossible. Green keeps a handle on his disorders with the help of medication, therapy, and the support of his loved ones.


As a well-known author, taking this public platform is a significant move for him. More often than not, when celebrities come out in support of something, they are successful in bringing awareness to it. In addition to being hard to live with, mental illness can evoke fear. This fear is the possibility that the people closest to you won’t be understanding enough to accept it and live with it too.

In this case, Green is a successful adult writing from experience. That’s exemplary. He’s using his talent to reach a wide audience and to inspire young people suffering from mental illnesses. It’s refreshing that John Green was willing to step forward with his diagnosis in addition to writing an accurate viewpoint. Turtles all the Way Down was released October 10th.


Feature Images Via the New Yorker, Amazon