When a person states that they are “trying,” or “really trying,” depending on tone, there could be a whole host of underlying scenarios going on with that person.  Having stated, “I am trying” quite a few times in life, under a variety of situations and circumstances, this opening statement is a truism, firsthand.  While there is nothing inherently wrong with the act of trying, as in trying something new, when a person has been pushed by self or others to feel that what they are doing is not good enough, herein lies the difficulty.

How we can escape the very wide and easily fallen into trap of trying for the wrong reasons is simple yet challenging.  This being the case, it is very worthwhile to try to note times in life that exasperation rises, and see if the motives behind our action are genuine, true, useful and helpful.  If they are not, we will find the root of our overwhelmed situation to be this trying for the wrong reasons.  This can be a very stressful and potentially unhealthy path of existence, and it easily manifests if we are not vigilant in our discernment.

Today’s book is a wonderful tale from an author who has done a great deal of very fine work in his career.  John Green has many accolades to his writing credit.  Turtles All the Way Down is his 2017 submission, and it became an instant best-seller.  The theme is detective story, though the tale itself, and the character development ride this simple genre into deep emotional, psychological and thought provoking realms.  This is no light story, though it has its glimmers of light for us the readers.

Our main character is a trier.  Aza is the heroine, and her real battles are fought most fiercely in her own mind.  She is always trying to be the best.  She tries to be the best daughter, the best student, the best pal, the best athlete or the best whatever else she does.  While there is great merit in doing our best, always, it must be seen in the light of ‘yes I am doing my best’ more often than not.  Aza is a person who constantly feels she needs to struggle up the ladder.  This is a sickness many of us may relate to.

The outcome of Aza’s over-eager zeal to be what other’s want her to be (and we never really know what that is exactly) leads her into mind swirling obsessive behavior.  This obsessive behavior manifests because she simply never feels she is good enough, smart enough, pretty enough or any of the enough we muster up in our minds.  This is a very dangerous place to live.  Aza senses this, though she is not too adept at identifying her struggle roots.

The story is quite riveting.  The tale of trying to uncover nefarious deeds of the uber-wealthy, find fugitives and so forth keep us reading.  The real catch here is the way we may or may not identify with Aza.  If we find we are being pulled in by her quirky ways, we may be learning something about ourselves.  It is very important to be able to learn from the experience of others.  Some of us are better at this than others.  Trust is a very key element for this kind of self-understanding. 

If Turtles All the Way Down catches your fancy, John Green also has a number of other titles to his credit.  He aims his work at young readers, though we here at On the Bookshelf feel that all work great or small can benefit us all, if we are meant to read it at that time.  The only way to know, is to begin.  

We all struggle for something in this world.  To find our motives, be sure they are generally positive and healthy for our self-growth, and at the same time rooting out habits of mind that make us sticky and stuck in the mud of our own thinking is a very wonderful and important part of our journey in life.  John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down may be useful for those of us who find ourselves saying ‘I am trying!’ in tones of frustration often.  Maybe our trying is misdirected, and that is why it is not working out.  It is a new way of considering and remedying a possibly debilitating habit.  Consider this, please.

Enjoy and read on!

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