Turtles All The Way Down Quotes from the Popular Book 

Lia Munson

These Turtles All the Way Down quotes will help you better understand people with mental illness.

The young adult novel by John Green explores the complexities and impacts mental health issues have on those who suffer from them. 

Tell us your favorite Turtles All the Way Down quote in the comment section. 

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Why read Turtles All the Way Down quotes?

Chances are you know someone who suffers from a mental health disorder, and reading these quotes can help you better understand what they go through daily. 

Reading Turtles All the Way Down quotes also reframes mental illness in a way that can help us let go of the social stigma associated with it. 

Turtles All the Way Down is a coming-of-age tale that explores themes of:

  • Relationships
  • Mental health
  • The struggles of growing up

The story is about Aza Holmes, a 16-year-old suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety.

When a local billionaire disappears, Aza’s best friend Daisy convinces her to help investigate so that they might collect the reward. 

Aza’s struggles with mental health are a dominant part of the story. 

She constantly battles intrusive thoughts and fears, which usually manifest as physical compulsions like excessive hand-washing. 

Green’s novel received critical acclaim for its honest and vivid portrayal of mental illness. 

Many readers and critics praised the book for capturing the complications of living with OCD and anxiety and the impact these disorders have on relationships and daily life.

As the book goes on, Aza gains support from her friends and a therapist and starts learning how to cope with her condition. 

Ultimately she realizes that she cannot control her intrusive thoughts, but she can control her reactions to them. 

The story ends on a positive note.

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Aza acknowledges that her struggles with mental illness will always be a part of her, but she is learning to live with them and find joy in her life. 

Please enjoy these quotes from Turtles All the Way Down.

Top Ten Turtles All The Way Down Quotes

Below are the best quotes from author John Green in Turtles All The Way Down

1. “Break hearts, not promises.” ― John Green

2. “To be alive is to be missing.” ― John Green

3. “Your now is not your forever.” ― John Green

4. “I is the hardest word to define.” ― John Green

5. “Whether it hurts is kind of irrelevant.” ― John Green

6. “If only I were as good at life as I am at the internet.” ― John Green

7. “There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.” ― John Green

8. “True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice on the matter.” ― John Green

9. “You are as real as anyone, and your doubts make you more real, not less.” ― John Green

10. “In the best conversations, you don’t even remember what you talked about, only how it felt.” ― John Green

Ten Turtles All The Way Down Quotes About Dealing With Mental Illness

These Turtles All The Way Down quotes illustrate the challenges of living with mental illness. 

11. “Actually, the problem is that I can’t lose my mind; it’s inescapable.” ― John Green

12. “Everyone wanted me to feed them that story—darkness to light, weakness to strength, broken to whole. I wanted it, too.” ― John Green

13. “Spirals grow infinitely small the farther you follow them inward, but they also grow infinitely large the farther you follow them out.” ― John Green

14. “The term chronic pain captures nothing of the grinding, constant, ceaseless, inescapable hurt. And the term crazy arrives at us with none of the terror and worry you live with.” ― John Green

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15. “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.” ― John Green

16. “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 a table or a body can. In some ways pain is the opposite of language.” ― John Green

Turtles All The Way Down Quotes About Love and Relationships

Love is also a significant theme of this book, and these quotes will show. 

17. “No one ever says good-bye unless they want to see you again.” ― John Green

18. “I mean, anybody can look at you. It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.” — John Green 

19. “Our hearts were broken in the same places. That’s something like love, but maybe not quite the thing itself.” ― John Green

20. “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.” ― John Green

21. “You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person and why.” ― John Green

Quotes On Self-Discovery and Self-Acceptance

These Turtles All The Way Down quotes display the beauty of self-awareness. 

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22. “Maybe you don’t choose what’s in the picture, but you decide the frame.” ― John Green

23. “I was beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell.” ― John Green

24. “You’re both the fire and the water that extinguishes it. You’re the narrator, the protagonist, and the sidekick. You’re the storyteller and the story told. You are somebody’s something, but you are also your you.” ― John Green

25. “We always say we are beneath the stars. We aren’t, of course—there is no up or down, and anyway the stars surround us. But we say we are beneath them, which is nice. So often English glorifies the human—we are whos, other animals are that—but English puts us beneath the stars, at least.” ― John Green

What’s in a name

Many people unfamiliar with this book find the name odd and unexplainable. 

The title “Turtles All the Way Down” refers to the philosophical concept of infinite regression.

It’s where an explanation relies on an infinite series of explanations, each one dependent on the one before it.

John Green reportedly chose this title as a metaphor for Aza’s struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety. 

Aza describes her thoughts as a spiral that she can’t escape from, constantly circling around and around like turtles stacked on top of each other. 

The title is a powerful symbol for the book’s themes of mental illness and underscores the idea that sometimes there are no easy answers or solutions to our problems.

Tell us your favorite quote in the comment section. 

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Lia Munson
Lia works as a meditation teacher, mentor, and spiritual guide for anyone seeking lasting happiness and fulfillment. After earning a bachelor's degree in health sciences from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, she spent 17 years as an entrepreneur in the food service industry. It was from fulfilling leadership and management duties in this industry that Lia became interested in what makes and keeps people happy. In her quest to uncover the golden rules of lasting happiness, she traveled to India and studied meditation at Ekam-Oneness, A World Center For Enlightenment, and then became a Certified Meditation Instructor with Chopra Global in 2020. Today, Lia combines her knowledge of science and spirit in classes and workshops on meditation and science-based spirituality practices. She writes to share information and insights about meditation, happiness, personal growth, healing, and self-discovery. Lia lives with her family in Montana, where she enjoys hiking, snowboarding, adventuring, and reveling in the beauty of the natural world.
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