Book club book #3: An Abundance of Katherines


Book: An Abundance of Katherines

Author: John Green

Number of pages: 228 (including the appendix)

Plot, according to the back of the book:
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 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 may finally win him the girl.

Plot, in my own words:
Colin Singleton was a child prodigy who happens to have a thing for girls named Katherine. After being dumped for the nineteenth time in his life by the nineteenth Katherine in his life, Colin is rather depressed. So his best friend (well, his only friend for that matter) takes him on a road trip to get over Katherine XIX. What they don’t plan is staying in a small, rural town in Tennessee, which might just prove to be the best way to get over Katherine XIX. Here Colin creates an incredibly detailed theorem which will help him, as well as all mankind, know for all future relationships who will be the Dumper and who will be the Dumpee (in his case, most likely Colin, as that is the way it has gone his entire life). By proving this theorem, Colin just may become the genius he has always aspired to be.

Thoughts, comments, questions, concerns:
I looked at my bookshelf today and decided to start on the next book in this little challenge. I pulled out three other books, which will eventually make it on this list sometime, but only got about four or so pages into each when I realized I just wasn’t into them at that particular moment. Now this was the only John Green novel that I had not read (as of this morning) and I figured now was as good a time as any. The thing is, I was a little hesitant. Not because of the story line or the author, but because this entire book revolves around a mathematical equation. Now if you know me at all, you will know that when it comes to the relationship of math and me, lets just say we do not get along- at all. But I picked up the book anyway, knowing that I will love it no matter what. And boy was I right.

This was a brilliant story and the complete opposite of what I expected. As far as the math part of the story goes, I generally hazed over the detailed explanation of the theorem and chart because I simply did not understand it. But John Green said himself that he was never very good at math, so he does a nice job explaining (and by explaining I mean having the characters dumb it down to a certain degree) this theorem in writing. The writing of this story is brilliant. John manages to throw in facts that no one in their right mind would know, which seems to be the point of Colin’s existence, and go from a light hearted conversation to a question of deeper meaning as to ones purpose in life and can we really predict the future?

The characters were really fun; completely different than his other novels, at least to me. Colin, our main “washed-up child prodigy” was both charming and completely annoying, which served the purpose of his character. The point of the story was for him to get over his newest failed relationship, which means he pines after the girl the entire story. Hassan, the overweight “of Lebanese descent” best friend is absolutely hilarious and is really likeable. He also manages to teach the reader some really awesome vocabulary words that will make great insults. Lindsey, the gal they meet in Tennessee, seems sweet enough and I liked her. Overall the characters were really relatable (well, except for the whole prodigy thing) and John did a fantastic job weaving all of the story lines between them together.

But the thing I loved most about this book was the footnotes. They were like little dvd bonus features sprinkled throughout the entire novel that had me literally laughing out loud. One particular instance I was attempting to sort out a complicated (at least to me) diagram of the relationships and wondering if this would go on throughout the entire novel, when dreading an answered “yes” I saw there was a footnote for this diagram. The footnote goes on to say that there is a place for complicated explanations of diagrams, and that place is known as the appendix (which happens to be four pages long. FOUR PAGES to explain a theorem. Oh my). And then the footnote informed me of something glorious. “As for the actual story itself: there will be no more math. None. Promise.” Oh happy day. I was really glad when I read that seeing as we were only 61 pages into the story and it was going to be quite a long one if this kept up. The footnotes also served to give translations for words, phrases, or complete sentences the characters stated in the story. Colin spoke eleven languages, and both Hassan and Lindsey spoke two or three. They also gave more random trivia that served no real purpose but to entertain.

Bottom line:
Please go buy this book. In fact (and I am stating this prematurely since I have not posted his other books, but I can state this prematurely since I have, in fact, read his other books) go buy all three books written by John Green. The stories may be classified as young adult fiction, but not once did I feel as though John was writing to an age group younger than me. The only time he really watered anything down was when he was explaining a math problem, and even then it was still a tad confusing (though that may just be me).  John loves for his readers to be able to think critically, on their own, and draw their own conclusions as they see fit. I love this style of writing because it allows the reader to connect with the author and ponder the many questions in life. Can you really predict the future with a not-so-simple mathematical formula? Would you distance yourself from relationships if you knew they were going to end badly? Would you do nothing with your life because you didn’t want to leave the comforts of your town? If you know the answer to any of these questions, would you change your mind to better yourself? These are the types of issues tackled in this book. Please give it a chance. It will be well worth your time, I promise.



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2 responses to “Book club book #3: An Abundance of Katherines

  1. This book club thing is going to be slightly frustrating. Some of them, such as this one, sound really interesting, but I know there’s no chance I’d make it through the whole book.

    I guess I’ll just have to take these as “movies I hope to hear about in the future” instead.

  2. improbablefiction

    Well this rights have been purchased for this, as well as both his other books, to be made into a movie, so that is good. It’s just a matter of actually writing the script and so on. I’d say out of all his books (Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns) Alaska is slightly more on track. If I’m not mistaken, it was purchased back in 2005 by Paramount Pictures and Mark Waters will be producing it with Josh Schwartz writing (and I think directing but I’m not to sure on that one). I think John is going to have a larger part with the script of Katherines and Paper Towns. Though a fair warning, John said if he has any part of writing the script, it may be drastically different than the book.

    I’d say out of all the books I am going to read, if you attempted any of them at all, chose the John Green ones. Honestly, they are some of the easiest reads. Way easier than Harry Potter (in the fact that they flow better). He pays very good attention to detail without boring the reader. Each time I read one of his books I read it in one day and I know you have reading ADD but if you ever decided on a whim to give a book a chance, make it one of these.

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