John Green: ‘Having OCD is an ongoing part of my life’

The bestselling YA author talks about the success of The Fault in Our Stars, answering his critics and writing his mental illness into fiction in his new novel, Turtles All the Way Down There is a scene late in US author John Green’s new novel, Turtles All the Way Down , where his protagonist, Aza Holmes – a bright, troubled teenager, as Green’s heroines generally are – goes through an ordeal so distressing it is difficult to read. Aza has obsessive compulsive disorder, and the “tightening gyre” of her thoughts has taken over. Green catapults his reader right into the middle of Aza’s desperate mental state as she becomes increasingly panicky over the possibility of being infected with the bacterium C. diff – “ do you want to die of this do you want to die of this because you will you will you will you will” – eventually scooping handfuls of hand sanitiser into her mouth, gagging and vomiting as her mother tries to stop her. Green, who has OCD himself, says it was “very hard to write”. “I wrote it right at the last, in the last revision. That’s as close to my experience as I could get.” Continue reading...