Tuesday, January 8, 2013

an abundance of katherines

an abundance of katherines
john green
dutton juvenille
published 2006

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, Judy Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun - but no Katherines.  Colin is on a mission to probe 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...

As it stands I've read two and a half John Green novels.  Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines and Will Grayson, Will Grayson.  I can easily say this was my least favorite of the two and a half.  Had I read this book first instead of Paper Towns I probably wouldn't be so in love with John Green's work. 

Currently, I'm two thirds of the way done with The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska so I feel I can compare them all pretty fairly.  I read an quick review on Goodreads after I read WG, WG about how all of John Green's characters are the same and I've discovered that is mostly correct.  They generally all center around a slightly nerdy, friendless and awkward boy who somehow manages to attract beautiful, quirky, if not altogether nutty girls.

Colin Singleton is no different.  When he was three years old her was able to read the newspaper and that turned his life upside down.  The typical gifted child he is forever chasing the idea that he is meant to do something bigger than everyone else.  Held up to these standards by his slightly bullying father he lives his life in a constant state of defeat for not being able to reach the goal of genius.

However, amidst all this studying and working and trying Colin manages to meet and 'date' 18 different girls named Katherine.  And then also get dumped by them which creates an obsessive compulsion to be with a Katherine and not get dumped.

It is after the 19th dumping that Colin's best friend Hassan says he needs to go on an adventure and drags Colin on a road trip to nowhere that lands them in Gutshot, TN, population 864 and things begin to change.  Not just for him, but for Hassan as well.

The story in itself is good.  And maybe it was the act of reading this one, The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska at the same time that did it, but I just didn't love this one.  I hardly liked it.  I found Colin to be annoyingly self centered and self absorbed and Hassan was just kind of funny, but more desperate.  I also just couldn't get past the idea that someone dated 18 different Katherines.  I don't think I've known 18 different anyone named the same.

But the main reason I don't think I liked this book?  Math.  There was math in it and that my friends, is a downer.

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