Review: John Green’s “An Abundance of Katherines”

June 12, 2017


Hey, all! Here is my first review for you. It is “An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green, a book I enjoyed very much. If you like John Green’s work, you are sure to love this book. So, without further ado, read on.

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 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 book has been in my TBR pile forever, and I thought it would be the perfect book to start the summer off with. Now, I have been a fan of John Green for a while, and this is actually the last book of his that I had to read. And I am glad I finally did.

Most of you are already familiar with John Green, and therefore his style of writing. This book doesn’t stray too far from what you might be used to if you have read any of his other books, so if you liked his other work then you are set with this one.

If you aren’t a fan of Green or you have mixed feelings about his work, I wouldn’t pick up this book. (If you are looking to change your opinion on John Green, read “Will Grayson, Will Grayson.” It’s excellent.) He does have a very particular way of writing, with well-spoken, deep-feeling teenagers that are often very intelligent, and “Katherines” is no exception to that style of writing. And while the characters are unique, they do tend to follow the same typical plot-line; somewhat nerdy boy meets a manic pixie dream girl who then proceeds to fall into a complicated love, amidst much trial and error.

I don’t fault Green too much for this because (1), this book was his second published and his pattern hadn’t been that established yet; and (2), he is excellent at making this typical plotline new and interesting with every release. So while the female and male protagonist circle around each other in the expected way, everything around them is different.

Set mostly in rural Tennessee, this novel encapsulates what it means to not know where you are headed. Not only does the smart boy feel lost, but so does the best friend, the dream girl, and every other character in the book. This novel answers the question of “what comes next” with the most simple of answers. And it’s one every reader can appreciate.

I do have to warn you, though: This book contains math and footnotes. As Colin is trying to develop his Theorem, Green dives into the math side of it with no fear. Since I am not a math person, I didn’t try to understand it too much, and I just accepted it at face value. This is something you can totally do, the math in no way changes or complicates the novel. And he does use footnotes, sometimes to explain the math, but mostly for narrator interjections. I enjoyed this because I thought it added an interested layer of character to the novel. But if you despise footnotes, well, I guess you shouldn’t read it.

I suggest you read this book if you like John Green, if you feel like you need to figure something out, or if you even just want a fun YA book to read at the beach. And if you somehow aren’t familiar with John Green or if you have only read “The Fault in Our Stars,” definitely try it out.

“I feel like, like, how much you matter is defined by the things that matter to you. You matter as much as the things that matter to you do.”

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