Sunday, December 12, 2010

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
256 pages, paperback
Published on January 21, 2008
Summary: 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. He's also a washed-up child prodigy with ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a passion for anagrams, and an overweight, Judge Judy-obsessed best friend. Colin's on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which will predict the future of all relationships, transform him from a fading prodigy into a true genius, and finally win him the girl.
Letting expectations go and allowing love in are at the heart of Colin's hilarious quest to find his missing piece and avenge dumpees everywhere.
My thoughts: An Abundance of Katherines is a typical John Green novel; hilarious, light, romantic, quirky, and inventive. Colin is--used to be--a child prodigy. He always dreamed of becoming a genius. But at the age of seventeen, he's quickly realized he's not going to become one--unless he proves his theory that every relationship can be predicted using a math problem. Green includes funny footnotes about the random facts that Colin knows--everything from how to translate Arabic to explaining who the archbishops are. Colin is full of random facts and he was just smart enough to seem crazy and just dumb enough when it comes to street-smarts that he was cute. Hassan was hilarious and totally brought the novel to life with his crude sense of humor and strangely religious ways. Lindsey was sweet, cute, and also funny, and I was immediately hoping for a romance between Colin and her. The story line, with Colin trying to perfect--along with Lindsey's help--his Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, was funny and brilliant too.
The book starts out a little slow, with a long introduction into how Colin used to be a child prodigy, and slowly became too smart for his own good. The most frustrating part of this book was how Colin constantly thought of himself as not smart enough, or not a genius. But Lindsey helps him with that problem and Green made it a little more clear as to why. The other thing that bugged me was that it was a little unrealistic that Colin had managed to find 18 Katherines and dated (or kissed) every single one of them. It just seemed a bit out there, but hey, it worked. I loved how Colin recounted each Katherine's story at the end--it made it seem a little more realistic that he should have found quite so many Katherines. It also cleared up the fact that he does not, in fact, have a thing for the name Katherine, luck just had it that Colin would crush on girls named Katherine.
Lindsey was funny and cute. I liked how she was real with Colin from the beginning, and how she revealed how she didn't really like being popular, just the idea of it. TOC (the other Colin), her boyfriend, was a total jerk and she still managed to have reason to go out with him without seeming too shallow or superficial. That being said, it did irk me some that she went along with his treatment of her for so long. Still, Green does a good job of portraying the way that she must have felt and her reasoning.
Hassan, oy vei, Hassan. He was hilarious, a bit annoying, and probably my favorite character. His greatest quality was one that Colin didn't appreciate at all--his ability to laugh off everything. Even when insulted, injured, and cheated on, Hassan moves on with a smile on his face. At first he annoyed me because he seemed to hang out with Colin for the sake of making fun of his obsession with facts and I didn't really get why Colin kept hanging out with him. But after their argument, I saw that Colin wasn't the greatest friend either, and Hassan wasn't making fun of him for the reasons it seemed.
The story was great; I love road trips, and though Colin and Hassan's was cut short with a detour that basically became the setting for the whole novel, it was still fun. The town where they end up, Gutshot, had a personality all its own, along with its strange residents. I liked how everyone seemed connected and how quickly Colin and Hassan adjusted to its quirky ways. As always, Green comes up with an original plot that makes you laugh and keeps you entertained.
Green's writing was amazing; I can't imagine how long it would've taken me to find so many strange, random facts and I especially can't picture myself looking up so many anagrams. If anything, I was a little annoyed that it was such slow reading because of the unnecessary facts and phrases, but I still loved it. My favorite part of the entire novel were the little footnotes at the bottom of most of the pages; they were random, quirky, hilarious, and showed Colin's personality perfectly. Also, the Appendix at the end was pure genius, even if it wasn't writen by Green himself. The whole idea of a washed-up child prodigy determined to prove his worth was original and funny. Overall, An Abundance of Katherines was a great read that involved a lot of thinking and plenty of laughs.
Cover: 4 stars
Characters: 5 stars
Plot: 5 stars
Writing: 5 stars
Overall rating: 5 stars


Skye (In The Good Books) said...

I LOVE John Green novels, and An Abundance Of Katherines is probably my favorite of them. Great review!

Nina B. said...

Great review! This is one of the books I've been wanting to get and I'm really excited to read it!

vampireprincess said...

All his books are so great, realistic, and funny. One of my favorite authors

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