Friday, February 10, 2012

book review: an abundance of katherines by john green

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Publisher: Penguin Group, Inc.

When it comes to relationships, everyone has a type. Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. He has dated–and been dumped by–19 Katherines. In the wake of The K-19 Debacle, Colin–an anagram-obsessed washed-up child prodigy–heads out on a road trip with his overweight, Judge Judy- loving friend Hassan. With 10,000 dollars in his pocket and a feral hog on his trail, Colin is on a mission to prove a mathematical theorem he hopes will predict the future of any relationship (and conceivably win the girl).An Abundance of Katherines was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Honor book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It was also named one of the books of the year by Booklist, Horn Book, and Kirkus.

If you look at my latest couple posts, you'll see that I've created a trend of John Green works. As I have set my sights on some other titles, I'll be taking a break of John Green for the time being. I do feel, however, that An Abundance of Katherines was a good title to end on, though.

The thing about John Green books is that they're just my reading style. An intellectual group of teens cope when their tiny world is shaked. They use logic, philosophy, math, etc. to help in this aspect. I assure you that "Abundance" was the same way. Seeing as the protagonist is a genius/prodigy, it made for a good story simply stuffed with a billion facts, but I feel that it felt short on the usual zing and verve that I've grown to love in Green books.

The main problem (and quite possibly only one) was that "Abundance" is written in third(ish) person. That being said, everytime I picked up the book, I was confused for maybe about a half of a page, trying to adjust to this change from Green's usual writing style. I also felt a disconnect from Colin, the main character. I could understand the story fine, and intriguing as it was, I felt no sympathy for the recent dumpee. I've come to the conclusion that this makes me sad.

The one thing that Green is so good at, though, is coming up with these attractive female counterparts for his protagonist. I saw it in Looking for Alaska (Alaska Young), Paper Towns (Margot Roth Spiegelman), and the protagonist of The Fault in Our Stars (Hazel Grace Lancaster), and it was also apparent in "Abundance" (the beautiful Lindsey Lee Wells). This may factor into the fact that John Green is a guy writing from a guy's perspective... or in Fault writing about a girl.

In the end, I rather enjoyed An Abundance of Katherines, although the other John Green books would leap off the shelf for my lending first. And heads up: if you're not much one for calculus, you may not enjoy this book especially; one of the main plot points is Colin trying to find a mathematical formula for relationships. Given, that's not what it's all about, but it does take up a majority of the book.

And the verdict (which is appropriate because Colin's friend loves Judge Judy)...

John Green offers a brief look at recovering and rediscovering what truly matters in life. Another of his books is worth more than a quick skim or glance.

'Til next time!


  1. Haha yep there's actually a special name for the types of girls John Green creates in his books. They're called Manic Pixie Dream girls. Funny huh? XD

  2. Nice review :) Here's mine: Have a nice day!


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