Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publish Date: September 21st, 2006
“Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.
On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun--but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.”
What can I say about John Green? He's really very clever. The way he connects seemingly random details always amazes me (and usually makes me laugh). I know it's unfair of me, because this book's subject was nowhere near as emotionally distressing as The Fault in Our Stars, so I should not be comparing the two, but my brain won't let me not. So, no. An Abundance of Katherines did not have the same emotional impact on me that TFIOS did, but it couldn't possibly have, so that's not really a negative.
I loved the characters in An Abundance of Katherines. Colin and Lindsay and Hassan are some of the funniest characters I've read in a while. They are the reason An Abundance of Katherines has been described so many times as laugh out loud funny, because they are unapologetic about their sense of humor. They connected so well at their first meeting, but there is no such thing as instalove in Gutshot, Tennessee, that's for sure. Colin is no more interested in Lindsay when he first meets her than a marine biologist is in looking at a new species of fish. She's different and pretty, but he's not the kind of guy to let looks figure into romantic decisions. But, since An Abundance of Katherines is a coming of age story, Colin grows and learns and figures out somethings he'd been missing in his friendships and relationships. And the best part is that it's so relatable nearly everyone's had similar thoughts at one point or another.
I think the biggest problem I had with the book was that I didn't connect to the characters the same way I did with Gus and Hazel in TFIOS, which is a totally unfair statement. I mean, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading about Colin and Hassan and Lindsey. I believe I just ranted a little about how I loved them and their problems were so relatable. But they were characters with relatable problems, not people. They weren't whole, functioning human beings that I cried and lost sleep over. Colin's existence on the page did not change me in any fundamental way, the way that Hazel's existence did. But it was still a good, solid story. Colin was entertaining and clever and did make me think about things in ways I never had before. So on a scale of 1 to TFIOS, it's not a stunning 10, but it still rates pretty high.
I think my favorite part about the book, however, is all of the math! Crazy, right? I would just like to point out that I don't understand math on a level that is in any way, shape or form on par with Colin's understanding of math. But I did enjoy reading about his Theorem and I even enjoyed reading the Appendix, in which an actual mathematician explains the math the theorem is based on. It went straight over my head, but still. It's awesome that it exists!
If you're looking for a great contemporary then An Abundance of Katherines won't let you down. But if you're looking for the same emotional heartbreak that was The Fault in Our Stars you might be disappointed. Just go into it knowing it's not the same and you should be alright!
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