An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Rating: 2.5/5

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Dear friends,

My relationship with this book was not unlike my relationship with Magic Mike. I was awfully excited to watch it thanks to my unhealthy attraction (which Ryan Gosling has now taken over) to Channing Tatum, and I was thinking “hey, this looks like a funny movie”. As it turned out, I was totally blindsided and tricked by the cast because I didn’t even last through a quarter of the movie.

With An Abundance of Katherines, I just survived the worst experience with John Green, ever.

For starters, here are a couple of things I never, ever, EVER want to see in my life, again:

1. The words ‘jewfro’, ‘fug’ or ‘fugging’, ‘theorem’, ‘dumper’, ‘dumpee’.

2. Anagramming, parabolas and graphic functions.

3. Colin

Basically, this is what the blurb promised:

Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be 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 finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.

This is what the plot actually delivered:

1. Colin is a prodigy (not a genius, because there’s a COLOSSAL difference, apparently)

2. Colin was dumped 19 times by 19 different Katherines.

4. Goes on a road trip to Gutshot, Tennessee with best friend Hassan.

3. He’s blue from being the “dumpee”, so he designs a graphic function to predict the future.

4. He meets Lindsey in Gutshot, who takes off her shirt (what.) to rescue him from a bleeding forehead.

5. Colin continues to whine about his unfortunate life of being smart and stupid at the same time.

Then comes a lot of misadventures and pointless plot twists, and before you know it, it’s the end.

Actually, I take that back. Reading this 229 pages was so horribly painful that I don’t even remember what happened- because I will admit, I skimmed- even though I finished it yesterday.

Nothing even happens in the first 2/3s of the plot, and even what little scraps of excitement is thrown to us in the last third, the ‘twists’ were all terrifyingly obvious from the beginning. I felt like the first 2/3s were pointless and unnecessary, and the whole book was just a let down. I would definitely not recommend this to people trying out John Green for the first time. Maybe it’s because this was written in 2006 so it would be considered an “older” book by John Green, but it’s definitely not up to his standards.

Plus, the footnotes drove me crazy, and there were so many that I just couldn’t be bothered to read them after the first 10 chapters. There were also periodical and discontinued stories about Katherine the First slipped into the main plot which was confusing and annoying because the stories kept getting chopped up and then reappearing later.

The only redeeming quality that An Abundance of Katherines had was the slightly humorous jokes made by his friend Hassan and Lindsey, who was a positive addition to the characters, and made Colin more interesting a little towards the end. However, there were a few racist comments that I was not particularly happy with, like when Colin was talking about the things people wrote in his yearbook:

“Colin Singleton could no more STAY cool than a blue whale could STAY skinny or a Bangladesh could STAY rich[…]”

I’m not sure why this was included in the book but it was not impressive.

In the end, this book was a terrible letdown and the whole way I was regretting spending $15 on this. There was way too much math for me to enjoy, and the graph parts (which is a HUGE part of the book) were just a big bore. Sure, the millions of facts were interesting, but after a while it just made the plot feel like many paragraphs of big, intellectual words strung together with no contribution to the storyline at all.

I would recommend this to people who liked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon because Colin and Christopher and the writing style are all somewhat similar.

Love always,
The Permanent Monday

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