Turtles All the Way Down

by

John Green

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Mom is Aza's mother. She's a math teacher at Aza's high school and is a widow—Aza's dad died of a heart attack about eight years before the beginning of the novel. Although Mom does everything she can to help Aza, such as encouraging her to go to therapy and asking her about her sessions, she doesn't truly understand Aza's anxiety. She encourages Aza to "just not think about" whatever triggers her thought spirals and continues to ask Aza about her mental state, even though neither of these things helps Aza at all and sometimes even makes Aza feel worse. Nevertheless, Aza and her mother are very close and have a mutually respectful relationship.
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Mom Character Timeline in Turtles All the Way Down

The timeline below shows where the character Mom appears in Turtles All the Way Down. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Identity, Selfhood, and Mental Illness Theme Icon
Chaos vs. Order and Control Theme Icon
...mom's classroom. Aza’s mom (to whom Aza refers throughout the rest of the book as “Mom”) asks Aza if she's "not anxious," and confirms that Aza has been taking her meds.... (full context)
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Privilege, Power, and Wealth Theme Icon
Mom begins to say that Aza looks anxious, but Aza interrupts and asks who decides when... (full context)
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Mom asks if Aza is going straight home after work, and Aza explains her after-school plan... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Aza explains that she and Mom used to paddle down the White River in their canoe, but Aza hasn't been on... (full context)
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Mom's closet is filled with ugly clothes, and Daisy decides she'll stick with the uniform. Aza... (full context)
Identity, Selfhood, and Mental Illness Theme Icon
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...the birthday party. Aza remembers that Davis lost his beloved Iron Man action figure, but Mom found it. Daisy asks Aza again if she's okay, and Aza can only say "yeah." (full context)
Chapter 5
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Aza watches TV with Mom when she gets home, but she starts to struggle with intrusive thoughts about Davis holding... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Mom is inside grading quizzes. Aza sits down on the couch with her and Mom says... (full context)
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Aza and Mom cook dinner, watch TV, and do dishes. Finally, Daisy texts and says she's at Applebee's.... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Aza drives Mom to school the next morning. Mom notices Aza pressing on her finger, something Aza does... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Privilege, Power, and Wealth Theme Icon
...getting dressed and trying to do her makeup. When she comes out of her bedroom, Mom fails to disguise her disappointment at Aza's decision to wear makeup. Aza explains she's having... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...to meet after work. Daisy hangs up because Mychal is calling, and Aza realizes that Mom is standing in her doorway. Mom asks how the date went, and Aza deflects. (full context)
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...around in Harold's trunk until she finds her dad's phone and charger. She explains that Mom backed up Dad's photos years ago, but she prefers going through them on the phone.... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...Aza picks up a phone call from Simon Morris. She slips outside and away from Mom to talk to him. Aza asks if splitting the money with Daisy was okay. Mr.... (full context)
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...pill starts to kick in, Aza feels heavy and sits in front of the TV. Mom comes home and asks Aza how she's feeling. Aza says she's fine and goes to... (full context)
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Mom comes into Aza's room and asks if she'd like to help make dinner and then... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...from Aza's driveway. She runs out to meet him and yells a brief goodbye to Mom on her way out. Mom calls her as Davis pulls out and tells her to... (full context)
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Mom hugs Davis in greeting and they all sit at the kitchen table. She asks Davis... (full context)
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...her doorstep. Aza goes into the garage to get her dad's phone and sneaks past Mom, asleep on the couch. She plugs in the phone in her room and scrolls through... (full context)
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Mom is waiting for Aza when she comes out of the bathroom. Mom asks if Aza... (full context)
Chapter 13
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When Aza gets home, Mom asks her how her appointment went. Aza says it was fine, and Mom apologizes again... (full context)
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Mom mentions that she spoke to Aza's history teacher and he said that Aza's most recent... (full context)
Chapter 17
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When Aza gets home and tells Mom that Davis wants to come over, she answers Mom's questions about whether Davis is her... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Mom wakes Aza up at 6:50 and asks if she slept through her alarm. Aza makes... (full context)
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Aza wakes up for a moment in the ambulance, and then again in the hospital. Mom is next to her, crying. Aza tells her that Dad's phone is broken. Mom assures... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...news: Aza has a lacerated liver, but it's very mild and she won't need surgery. Mom fixates on the doctor's words that Aza will be okay. Aza asks if she needs... (full context)
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Daisy leaves once Aza goes upstairs. Mom falls asleep in the recliner next to the hospital bed. Aza can feel Mom's breath... (full context)
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Aza's thoughts spiral: she thinks that Daisy hates her, remembers Davis's tongue, and thinks about Mom's warm breath. She thinks about her "irreconcilable selves:" Ayala, Aza, and Holmesy. She texts Daisy... (full context)
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...have a normal life or be able to share a bathroom with strangers in college. Mom's breath becomes unbearable. Aza tries to ask Mom to turn over, but Mom won't wake... (full context)
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Mom wakes up and asks Aza what she's doing. Aza is embarrassed but can't stop. She... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...the point of view changes to second person (with Aza using “you” instead of “I”). Mom tells Aza she made her Cheerios for breakfast, and Aza notices a bouquet of flowers.... (full context)
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...bacteria are already inside her and are going to kill her. She manages to tell Mom that she's in big trouble. (full context)
Chapter 21
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Dr. Singh comes to Aza's house twice per week. Mom makes sure that Aza takes her medication, and Aza isn't allowed to get out of... (full context)
Identity, Selfhood, and Mental Illness Theme Icon
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...wondering whether or not to take her medication, but isn't sure yet that it's working. Mom drives Aza to school since Aza is too scared to drive and Harold is totaled.... (full context)
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Aza stops at Mom's classroom after lunch and tells her about the money from Davis. She says she's saving... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Aza struggles to drive Mom's car to Applebee's. She keeps thinking about the accident and thinks that the worst part... (full context)
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When Aza gets home, Mom asks her what the smell is. Aza explains that it's a mix of things, and... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...come over. He agrees to come at 5:30pm. The day moves slowly, and Aza tells Mom at a quarter to five that Davis is coming over. Mom asks if Aza feels... (full context)
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Mom goes out to run errands, and Davis knocks on the door a bit later. Aza... (full context)
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...him that he has Noah, which sends Davis sobbing again. Davis and Aza cuddle until Mom gets home, which makes them jump. Davis insists on leaving, even though both Mom and... (full context)
Chapter 24
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In January, Aza is eating breakfast in front of the muted TV while Mom hurries around in a rush. Aza sees a breaking news banner on the screen and... (full context)
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...didn't tell the police. He finally texts back that he and Noah told the police. Mom comes back into the kitchen and suggests that Aza talk to Davis, and Aza relays... (full context)