An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on September 21, 2006
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”
Truth be told, this is my first John Green book where the end didn’t make me mad/sad. Even Paper Towns left me with a little bit of “What just happened?” upsetness.
Another truth to be told is that this book makes you think. For some it might not, but it did for me. Colin Singleton is a child prodigy who just got dumped by his 19th Katherine (to be even more specific…. 19 K A T H E R I N E’s) and takes a random road trip with his best friend Hassan to middle-of-nowhere Gutshot, Tennessee. Colin tries to create this Theorem where you can predict how long a relationship will last and who does the dumping (Dumper) and who is left hurt (Dumpee). An Abundance of Katherines has a lot of footnotes (more footnotes that I’ve ever read in a work of fiction), lots of math (refer to the Theorem), an appendix full of math, enough anagramming to make you wonder what all you can anagram, and pages full of the stream of consciousness or tangents. I’m not sure which one this book more closely follows, but Colin gets off track quite a bit (despite it being third person) and talks about so many facts that I’m sure I came out of this book knowing more than when I picked it up.
One pattern I picked up on, though I’m not sure if it’s John Green characters or just human nature, is that his characters want to matter. Augustus Waters was afraid of oblivion and wanted to lead a great life and Colin Singleton was just the same. Colin wants to matter and be unique. Which eventually leads to his creation of the Theorem.
Fault in Our Stars excluded, almost every John Green book I’ve read I am not sure where the story is going until halfway through. Until something major happens, I’m not really sure how John Green is going to take the story, but sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised and others I’m confused. Fortunately Katherines is the former.
This book had a pleasantly, and refreshing, happy ending. I could sympathize with Colin because like him, sometimes I want to turn things that can’t be logical (like relationships) and turn them into something that makes sense with numbers. This story was about Colin figuring out his life post-break up and figuring out how to move on. All the way up until the last couple chapters this book was a solid 3 stars from me, but the end made me smile and I was happy enough with it that I’m giving it a 3.75. I’m not sure if I’ll ever read another John Green book because his stories are more like something I’d study in English (confusing at times, has a moral, footnotes (and I think I read somewhere that some classes actually have studied Looking for Alaska)) and less for fun. I did enjoy this book, but my brain will need to rest for a bit after trying to keep up with Colin’s genius — no, sorry, prodigy — of a brain.