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Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

“19 Katherines and counting …
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is 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 blood-thirsty 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.”

An Abundance of Katherines had my full attention from the start. The story took some time to begin but because of the fast paced writing I didn’t even notice until the very end when you go through it in your mind. The whole book was well thought, intriguing and nicely written. I liked the structure of paragraphs – the perfect length to make it seem like your sailing through the book.

My favorite character was probably Lindsey Lee Wells. Even though she stated that she isn’t real, but is full of crap, she seemed the most real to me. She was never her true self, but took over different personality traits depending on the company she was with. Lindsey was a kind girl who was afraid to show her kindness because she was worried it would make her unpopular again.

I could identify with her character because she wasn’t whining all the time and when the time came, she stood up for herself even if it meant leaving the world she knew and loved behind. Don’t all of us want to be popular in high school? Wouldn’t we be willing to do just about anything to be one of the cool kids? Well, so did Lindsey. No matter who she became when she was with them, she still managed to remember her true self thanks to Colin and Hassan.

Colin was probably the only character that didn’t feel truly real to me. I had a problem identifying with him (probably because I’m no prodigy, but still) and it was difficult to care about him. I didn’t like his self-centered personality and his pathetic moping about Katherines. However, he did manage to win me over at the end and made me cheer for him. Even his anagramming grew on to me. I can’t help but think that this was John Green’s plan all along – for me to dislike him, just so I can get to like him and notice his character development.

Story itself wasn’t quite as interesting as its characters. It didn’t keep me guessing and I didn’t even really care about the town secret. But that didn’t really bother me, because as I said before, it was nicely constructed with interesting characters to lead me through.

The book made me laugh more than once, especially near the end. Story had it’s grip on me and made me turn the pages until I reached the end. I didn’t like the ending, although it was quite satisfying if not fulfilling. I will not lie, I would like to read what happened after.

I am not a big fan of math. Scratch that. I am not a fan of math.

The book was filled with graphs and calculations. At first it bothered me, because I thought I will have to concentrate really hard to get through it. Luckily, I was wrong. Colin did all the work and kept the calculations and explanations away from the story.

The thing that caught my attention were notes at the bottom of the book. At first I started reading them reluctantly because I thought it was math explanation or something like that, but I soon realized it was more than that. And funnier as well. Notes consisted Colin’s thoughts and interesting if maybe a little random real life facts. Notes helped us understand Colin and his way of thinking. It helped us understand how Colin decided which facts weren’t safe to say out loud.

After reading this book, you realize that things are never as simple as it seems or as you want them to be. The story contains a nice lesson. Even the Author’s note was unique and funny.

All in all, I really liked An Abundance of Katherines.

I would recommend this book to everyone who loves John Green.

Funny, young adult, contemprorary and road trip lovers, go read it!

My rating: 3.5/5

SPOILERS AHEAD!

A couple of sentences that caught my attention and made me think.

… one of his general policies in life was never to do anything standing up that could just as easily be done lying down.”

I like this policy. From now on I will try to follow it as much as I can.

Prodigies can very quickly learn what other people have already figured out; geniuses discover that which no one has ever previously discovered. Prodigies learn, geniuses do.”

I never understood the difference between prodigies and geniuses but when you put it like that, it seems quite simple.

What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try something remarkable?”

I almost put down my book and went out doing something more “productive”, but soon abandoned the thought and returned to reading.

You can love someone so much, he thought. But you can never love people as much as you can miss them.”

You never know what you have until it’s gone.

The reading quieted his brain a little.”

Yes, the reading does quiet your brain but only about your real life problems. Instead of thinking about your problems, you start solving his problems. But what’s the point in that if he doesn’t listen to your advice. Damn it, Colin, could you listen to me just once?

… there’s some people in this world who you can just love and love no matter what.”

Unconditional love…

A couple more (spoilery) thoughts on the book.

Yes, Colin’s love life was pathetic, but so is dating the girl when you are only 2 years old or even counting that as your first girlfriend.

Road trip was a great idea and reminded me of John Green’s other book Paper Towns.

I have to admit that I haven’t expected that Katherine The Great was Katherine (The End) XIX.

As it turns out, Colin had to get out of his home, out of his safe zone to learn about life and himself. He was blaming him for being washed-up child prodigy and was so obsessed with doing something with his life that he forgot to live. Being in Gutshot teached him more than any book could. Life is the greatest teacher of all.

He got into a fight (real fight, with actual punching and kicking), learned to shoot, drank booze, slept in stranger’s house and got over his heartbreak.

Hassan is the funny best friend character. He has a problems of his own, but we don’t get a lot of insight thanks to Colin’s self-centered personality. You can, however, put the pieces together, when Hassan delivers his big speech after he and Colin got into a fight.

Everyone wanted to matter. Some way or another. Even though Lindsey didn’t want to leave Gutshot, she still wanted to be known outside of it. She had different reasons for that as Colin, but wish remained the same – to matter.

Book review by Anya Blackhart-Clark

Check out the book here.

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