The main character in John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down is a 16-year-old girl struggling to cope with severe anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. But that didn’t stop Bill Gates from recognizing some aspects of his own life in the book.
In a review that Gates posted on his personal blog on Tuesday, both the billionaire Microsoft founder and his youngest daughter, Phoebe, 15, shared their thoughts on what makes Green’s newest book so special.
Phoebe, as it turns out, has known the plot of Turtles since attending one of Green’s events with her parents a few years ago. “John pulled Phoebe aside to share a secret with her: the plot of his new book,” Gates wrote. “He made her promise not to share it with anyone, and she stayed true to her word for nearly two years. She wouldn’t even tell Melinda and me!”
After Turtles came out last year, Gates and Phoebe discovered that they were both drawn to one character in particular: Davis Pickett, the son of the fugitive billionaire who propels the book’s action forward.
“He’s used to people sucking up to him to get close to his dad,” Gates wrote of Davis. “While I hope I’m nothing like the morally bankrupt Russell — he wants to give all of his money to his pet lizard and was under investigation for fraud and bribery — I think my own kids can relate to some of Davis’ experiences.”
Phoebe, a longtime Green fan, went on to add her own thoughts on why she felt a deep connection to Davis.
“Never has a book been able to capture so well what it is like to live in the shadow of someone else’s legacy,” she wrote. “This story shows how Davis struggled to find his own identity outside of his father’s fame and wealth. Although we have very different relationships with our dads, I recognized his struggle, which also plays into my own life as I find my way in this world.”
Read the full review on Gates Notes.