Paper Towns written by John Green, is a book about high school seniors and is primarily based upon the character Quentin Jacobsen, also referred to as “Q.” Quentin is romanticizing about a girl Margo Roth Spiegelman, his cool next-door neighbour, who is known for being mysterious. In the prologue of the book, Quentin mentions;
If I had a nervous breakdown everytime something awful happened in the world, I’d be crazier than a shithouse rat. (pg.6.)
Someone close to Margo died, Quentin understands that it is quite dramatic and upsetting, but he wasn’t upset because he didn’t know the guy. He explains how awful things keep happening to people around the world, all the time. This does not mean that someone is supposed to have a nervous breakdown every time something happened. He compares this to being crazier than a shithouse rat. If one has empathy for everything and everyone, it is most likely that they are going to be constantly depressed. Whereas, it is different if someone has empathy for their loved ones.