Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

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A journey to find a solution

No matter how we start, we can never plan what happens in between until the end. – Francine

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Click on the image to open the book's Goodreads page

Click on the image to open the book’s Goodreads page

Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Publication Date: January 1, 2006
Publisher: Speak
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback
Acquisition: Bought

Purchase at: Amazon

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, washedup 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.

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Of all of John Green’s books,I’m pretty sure that this one has been the least popular of them all. People loved John Green for Looking for Alaska, and he’s well-known nowadays for The Fault in Our Stars, which will become even more famous once the movie comes out. For those who haven’t read this book, one might ask why people don’t like it so much. For those who have read it, a lot of people would probably say that his was their least favorite of them all. I’m not really sure what causes people’s distaste from this book, but I can surely input my own opinions.

An Abundance of Katherines is simply very Colin Singleton. Colin was a child prodigy with a fascination for words and facts (i.e. his fascination with girls his age with the name Katherine). He’s really good with making connections that helps him remember all kinds of things. Sometimes what he finds interesting isn’t really normal, and not a lot of people can appreciate that. This book is filled with all kinds of facts or trivia. But that’s not the worse of it. It also contains a lot of math and other theoretical stuff I’m not sure I even understood. Or maybe I’m just stupid, but I like reading stories – not mathematical or scientific stuff. If I did, then I would just study for school.

Now I’m not necessarily saying that this is a bad thing. A lot of us learn new things from books after all. And I must admit that I found some of the facts interesting. But I don’t think I’d remember them at all. I think that there was just too much to take in. I didn’t even read the extras in the back that contains all the math because I probably won’t get it unless someone explains it to me. However, apart from that, I don’t really think there’s much else to dislike about this book.

The writing was still wonderfully and nerdtastically John Green. There’s just something really different about the way he strings words together to form his stories. They’re very intelligent, yet very entertaining. He undeniably has a wicked sense of humor that would make people laugh out loud. And for me, his brilliance can be infectious. I find myself to write better articles after reading his works. I tend to use the same words or train of thought somehow. (If it doesn’t show here, it’s because I re-read AAoK weeks ago and first read it years ago. Or maybe I’m not much of a writer) I’m not really sure, but I felt a lot smarter after reading this book.

The story starts out with Colin being dumped by Katherine the 19th. That’s right. He dated 19 Katherines who mostly attracted him for their shared name. These are girls with different ethnicity and interests. The story won’t be about his time with each of them though. There will simply be some recollections from some of his experiences with them. After all those relationship failures where he got dumped, Colin finally thought that Katherine the 19th was the one. Obviously, he was wrong, and that had him badly depressed.

So his best friend, Hassan, (who is unbelievably hilarious) comes to the rescue and suggests that they go on  a road trip. It’s just the start of the summer and they have all the time they need. Also, Colin has  a lot of money so that wouldn’t be a problem at all. While traveling aimlessly, they somehow ended up in Gutshot, Tennessee. It’s one of those small towns where you barely see anything and you could probably count the residents. And I won’t spoil much more, but a lot of things happened. Although I will say that Colin obsessed over trying to solve the Dumper-Dumpee relationship to help him with future girlfriends. (Hence, the math)

Colin Singleton has been likened to Holden Caufield (The Catcher in the Rye) by Katherine the 19th. He can be really self-centered and whiny. I didn’t particularly find him as annoying as Holden though. I think that he can really just get so stuck in his head, and he gets stuck in his strong need to matter and not just be some washed-out child prodigy. I personally liked his determination, although he tended to get a little crazy.

I also liked the side characters – Hassan, Hollis, and Lindsey. Well, I love Hassan mostly because he’s just so fuggin’ hilarious. He’s also a really great friend to Colin, even if Colin tends to revolve around his won world most of the time. Hollis, who gave Colin and Hassan a part-time job and temporary residence in Gutshot, was not who I expected her to be, and I was so endeared by her. Lindsey was going through a phase when they met her, but she slowly showed her good sides and redeemed herself in my eyes.

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OVERALL,  An Abundance of Katherines is a profound and hilarious coming-of-age story. Colin searches out to find a solution to his relationship problems, but will end up finding something much more meaningful. I found the math and trivia to be a little too much, but I think Colin would have loved it himself. I did, however, love the characters who all made me laugh and care about them. The story wasn’t much, but it was definitely entertaining with John Green’s knack for writing one.

RATING:

4-star

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Disclaimer:

  • This is all based on personal opinion, and as much as I’m open to other people’s opinions, I hope you understand that this is based on what I feel. I avoid giving out spoilers as much as possible, too.
  • I do not own most of the images I use, and some may be subject to editing.
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6 thoughts on “Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

  1. I still have to read this book by John Green as well as Looking for Alaska, but I will, in the future, whenever I find myself to have the time. (first Divergent hehe) But I’m glad you enjoyed the book, it makes me curious, so I might read this book a little sooner than planned. ^^

  2. I have only read The Fault in Our Stars, but I want to read his other books. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed this book. I feel I hear more average ratings for his other books.

    • Well TFiOS is definitely a rather famous book, but I think it’s pretty nice to see how John Green grew as a writer. I personally like his writing style and find myself enjoying his books. 😀

  3. I read this, and my review’s coming out soon. I really liked the math despite the fact that I HATE math in school, haha! Still, I also found it really funny. 😀

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