Why Annie Isn’t Reviewing Turtles All the Way Down

Yesterday, I finished reading Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.  As you can see from my five-star rating on Goodreads, I loved it.  This book enchanted me the way so few books do: I couldn’t put it down, couldn’t leave my dorm unless it was tucked in my backpack with the knowledge that I could read a few more paragraphs in Aza’s story at my convenience.  I all but had a countdown leading up to this book’s release, waiting for the signed copy to appear in my mailbox.  I love John Green, and his long-awaited return to writing thrilled me.

And then I finished reading.  In a blur, I’d consumed all of Aza’s story in two short days.  I closed the book with such an incredulous look on my face that my roommate looked at me and said, “that must’ve been a good book.”  She was right: it was a good book.

And today, I sat down to write my review.  I opened the tab and prepared to write about Aza’s impact on my life and perspective and how John Green is literally the only writer with the capacity to move me to tears.  The review sounded fabulous in my head, but when it came time to put it into words, nothing happened.

Here’s the deal: I’m not going to write a review of Turtles All the Way Down.  And here’s why that’s okay.

The blogging world is small, per se.  In the grand scheme of society, there aren’t too many of us sitting at our computers typing away and gushing about fantastic literature.  We are small but mighty, and we all love the same thing: books.  So when a book so monumental as Turtles All the Way Down comes along, we all get kind of obsessed.

My Twitter feed is oversaturated with Turtles All the Way Down, and I’m sure yours is as well.  Reading all the buzz has been fantastic, but like an overplayed song on the radio, reading the same things about the same book can start to drone on and on.  The reviews are stellar, the praise is of the highest caliber, but there’s more than plenty of it to go around.

I can’t knowingly contribute to this buzz.  I have thoughts in my head other than how much I enjoyed Turtles All the Way Down to share with you, and I want to focus on those thoughts.  Everything I have to say has been said before.

As a blogger, my self-induced profession is to plaster my thoughts all over the internet.  The more views our post gets, the better.  The more Twitter followers we amass, the better.  We strive to share with others, to create meaningful content worthy of being read.  But sometimes, we must strike a balance between sharing and keeping.

Blogging can feel like a fish bowl sometimes.  We pressure ourselves to tweet and share and like and post everything we think and feel because there’s instant gratification in oversharing.  We like when people like us, so we share more of ourselves, giving other people more things to like.  It’s cyclical.  Once you put something online, it belongs to the people who read it.

It should be this way: we as content creators want to create meaningful content for our audiences.  However, creating for the people is different from creating things you like for people who also like it.  It’s a fine line, but it’s there.

Sometimes, it’s okay for our thoughts to be our own and no one else’s.  There’s nothing selfish about letting ourselves love books and wanting to keep that love as our own.  We don’t have to constantly release our analysis to the masses just to stay liked.  My love for Turtles All the Way Down doesn’t have to be broadcasted to exist.  I can gush over this book without letting you know that I gushed.  My love for something is valid even if it isn’t consumed by others.

Blogging is the art of plastering your thoughts on the proverbial wall and telling people to come take a look.  We thrive in situations when people hear what we have to say, but we don’t have to confine ourselves to these practices.  It’s also okay to not write anything down and put away our pens, unused for the time being.  We as bloggers can record what we want and nothing more, which I think is incredibly freeing.

Related Post: Eight Reasons Why I’m Not Going to Watch “Thirteen Reasons Why”

What do you think about sharing thoughts versus keeping thoughts?

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19 thoughts on “Why Annie Isn’t Reviewing Turtles All the Way Down

  1. I recently went through pretty much the same thing with Wonder. I LOVED it, and I flew through it. I had all this great stuff in my head to write about it, but when I sat down to actually write the review, I found I didn’t want to. I have a bunch of books I need to review so I am going to do a mini review post, and I will include it in there, but I won’t do a full review even though it deserves it. I will write a couple sentences stating how great it was, and how I think everyone should read it, but I am not going to do a full review.

  2. I think it’s much more difficult to review something that you love than something that you have mixed feelings about. I also find it difficult to know what I could possibly add when so many other people have said it more eloquently than I could…

      1. I have Turtles All the Way Down on my to-read pile and have heard lots of good things about it. Really enjoyed reading your impressions of it 🙂

  3. There have been a few times that I find myself just not knowing how to start a review, but for me it’s usually because I just feel very meh about the book. Lately I’ve been taking those meh feelings and trying to bring up a discussion based on the book, rather than trying to piece together a longer review that I don’t care about.

  4. Great post! I haven’t read this book, possibly because of all the hype. i mean I just read The Hate U Give so its sometimes better to wait and read it after everyone stops talking. However, one of my FAVORITE things is to read a review of a book I have read. I want to see if that blogger felt the same way I did, or could provide insight into a part of the book that I was confused about or felt meh when it should’ve been impactful. I LOVE having that conversation. So, I think you should wait. Then write your review, even if its a short one. You will find someone like me who waited to read it and is DYING to discuss it with someone. Just a thought. I loved this discussion!

    1. Glad you enjoyed my post!! I agree—it is fun to read other reviews from the reader’s perspective, but the pressure to constantly be displaying our thoughts can get taxing after a while. To me, I think the important part is striking a balance between writing what your readers like and writing what YOU like. Thanks for reading!!

  5. The same thing happened to me when I finished A Court of Mist and Fury back in 2016! Like I had so much feelings about the book and somehow I felt I needed to tell everyone about it but then — I can’t put any of it in writing.
    But the main thing I took away from your post wasn’t the review part? It was the bit about being content creators and sharing. Last year, I listened to Liz Gilbert’s podcast and on one episode she mentioned to one struggling writer that the novel she has to write for herself does not necessarily equate to the novel you have to show to the world.
    And that really, it is completely okay to keep some of your thoughts or a creative project to yourself. This is a really great discussion post, Annie!
    xx Kate | https://allthetrinkets.wordpress.com

  6. Respect <3

    I noticed on myself as well that the more i like a book the harder it is to write a review. I sometimes feel like i can't do justice by it and i don't want anyone thinking it's not a good book because i couldn't capture my thoughts properly.