After jumping on tickets, waiting in a line extending beyond McCain Library, and receiving hardcover signed copy of “Turtles All the Way Down,” Nerdfighters across campus finally got to listen to New York Times bestselling author John Green at Presser Hall Oct. 14.
Green’s book tour was long anticipated after five years of no material. Green came to Agnes in 2012 when he released his last book, “The Fault in Our Stars.”With “Turtles All the Way Down,” current students had their chance to see the charming vlogbrother first hand.
“I had forgotten how optimistic and positive the Vlogbrothers videos made me feel, while still being grounded in realism.They always acknowledge that things can be, and often are, shitty and bad, but they point out the things that are really wholesomely good that we tend to forget,” said Hannah Piecuch ‘20. “It was incredible to see John in person because it reminded me of this feeling, especially since I’ve never seen him in person before.”
For most of the tour, John was expected to be accompanied by his brother, Hank Green; however, due to conflicting schedules, John’s cohost leading up to the event was a surprise. Once the surprise guest stepped out on stage, the crowd burst into excitement: it was his wife and host of the YouTube channel The Art Assignment, Sarah Green.
“It was very endearing that he picked someone so important to him,” said Avalon Bonlie ‘19. “Sara also gave the talk more of an intellectual flair, which was really appropriate for a college campus.
The show started with a book reading by John, followed by a presentation of the art in “Turtles All the Way Down*” *by Sarah Green, who is also an art history expert, a reenactment of the Green brothers’ podcast Dear Hank and John, and an insightful Q&A.
During the Q&A when asked if there is a common theme or connection between his books, John responded that each novel involves how he hopes people think of others. On his Youtube channel, [name Youtube Channel], John often insists known for his insistence in videos that we should imagine people complexly.
“[The common theme is] the way we imagine the lives of others matters,” said John,
Another noteworthy point by John during the Q&A included his advice for writers who struggle with mental health. John warned that one of the biggest dangers is “romanticizing mental health.” He pointed out that when one Googles the phrase ‘All writers are,’ Google autofills ‘mad.’
“I am not a mental health professional, so I can only speak from my own experience,” said John. “But I am most productive when I am treating my mental illness with consistent care.”
John concluded the event with an account reflecting on an event hosted by Amy Krauss Rosenthal, a children’s book author who died earlier this year. She told the story of the men in the trenches during World War I trying to explain their presence by singing the song “We’re Here Because We’re Here.”
During a low point in his life, this song gave John hope.
“We are here. We are never truly alone,” said John.
The audience joined him in singing the song, leaving with a somber hope as they exited Presser Hall.
“I thought it was really empowering to look at it in a positive light,” said Piecuch. “We can do really positive things just by finding meaning in the places we find ourselves and doing what we can and what we know makes the world better.”