An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

An Abundance of Katherines

Katherine V thought boys were grossKatherine X just wanted to be friendsKatherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mailK-19 broke his heartWhen 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-hap...

Title:An Abundance of Katherines
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0525476881
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:229 pages

An Abundance of Katherines Reviews

  • Emma

    Picture this: You used to be a childhood prodigy. Member of an academic game team. You excelled in school. You were special. You met a girl named Katherine and the two of you started dating.

    Then she dumps you.

    Then eighteen more girls named Katherine dump you.

    Suddenly, you're a teenager with no claim to fame except for your former status as a prodigy. No new ideas. No girl. No plans for the summer excepting wasting away in your room and moping.

    This is not your life. But it is Colin Singleton's li

    Picture this: You used to be a childhood prodigy. Member of an academic game team. You excelled in school. You were special. You met a girl named Katherine and the two of you started dating.

    Then she dumps you.

    Then eighteen more girls named Katherine dump you.

    Suddenly, you're a teenager with no claim to fame except for your former status as a prodigy. No new ideas. No girl. No plans for the summer excepting wasting away in your room and moping.

    This is not your life. But it is Colin Singleton's life immediately after his graduation from high school.

    Given Colin's history with girls, you might not be surprised that John Green chose to name his second novel An Abundance of Katherines.

    After sulking for several days after being dumped (again), Colin is dragged out of his room by Hasan, his best friend. Hassan is confident that the only cure for Colin's depression is a road trip. So Colin and his Judge-Judy-loving, overweight, Muslim pal head off for the great beyond that is the United States between the coasts. Their road trip stops in Gutshot, Tennessee. But the adventures don't. Hired by a local bigwig to compile an oral history of Gutshot, Colin and Hassan find themselves staying with Hollis and her daughter, Lindsey. It is in Gutshot that Colin finally has what he has always wanted, a truly original idea. Thus, Colin begins to create a theorem of love in his attempt to understand his own rocky love life.

    Most of my friends who have read this book and Green's first novel Looking for Alaska agree that his second novel is not as compelling a read. Having only read "Katherines," I cannot make a judgment one way or the other. What I can say is that I loved the style of this book. There has been a growing trend to use footnotes in novels--notable examples include The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Johnathan Stroud, Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels, and Ibid A Life by Mark Dunn which is a novel written entirely of endnotes. Green continues that tradition here to good effect.

    The tone throughout is quirky, nerdy, and generally fun. I don't know that reading this novel will change any lives, but it will certainly get a lot of laughs. The best parts are, undoubtedly, the dialogues between Hassan and Colin. The guys are just so likable! In addition, Green's writing is snappy--all the better to keep the laughs coming.

    Like Nothing but the Truth by Justina Chen Headley, this book includes a bit of math. The "real" math behind Colin's theorem appears in the back of the book in an appendix and Green even has a website where you can use the theorem for your own relationships (if it doesn't crash your computer). Despite all of that, Green is a self-proclaimed lost cause when it comes to math. (The theorem was drafted by friend (and "resident mathematician" for Brotherhood 2.0), Daniel Biss.) I wanted to share this for a couple of reasons. First, because I think it's great that Green is writing outside of what some might call his "comfort zone" and, second, because it should illustrate that you don't have to like math to enjoy a book that features a lot of math.

    Anyway, if you need a cheerful book with some fun, lovable characters I don't think you can do better than this book which was recently nominated for the LA Times Book Award in addition to being selected as a Printz Award honor book (Looking for Alaska won the actual Printz Award, just to put that into perspective).

  • Dawn

    Things that I was sick of by the end of this book:

    1. Anagrams and tangents

    2. Use of the words jewfro, fug, fugger, fugging, kafir

    3. Colin's whining--actually, Colin in general

    4. Katherines

  • Maggie Stiefvater

    As a YA author, I'd heard the name "John Green" whispered in the YA wind for months, but I'd never picked up one of his books until I read a synopsis for AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES online. My husband, a pretty reluctant reader, snitched it from me and devoured it, so I was expecting great things.

    I wasn't disappointed. This story of a boy struggling to come up with a theory that describes the arc of his 19 relationships with girls named Katherine was, in many places, laugh out loud funny. Even wi

    As a YA author, I'd heard the name "John Green" whispered in the YA wind for months, but I'd never picked up one of his books until I read a synopsis for AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES online. My husband, a pretty reluctant reader, snitched it from me and devoured it, so I was expecting great things.

    I wasn't disappointed. This story of a boy struggling to come up with a theory that describes the arc of his 19 relationships with girls named Katherine was, in many places, laugh out loud funny. Even with flashbacks, the pacing never flagged, and though it wasn't the world's most unpredictable plot, I was never bored.

    The real charm in this book is both the characters -- larger than life, quirky people who don't quite fit into society -- and the dialog. In John Green's hands, dialog is a weapon . . . and he slayed me.

    I'm thrilled that he has a two other novels and a recent anthology for me to work through next.

    ***wondering why all my reviews are five stars? Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read. Consider a novel's presence on my Goodreads bookshelf as a hearty endorsement. I can't believe I just said "hearty." It sounds like a stew.***

  • Kim

    Colin Singleton is not a vampire or a werewolf or a sorcerer or a punning Austin zombie. He doesn’t live in a dystopian society, he hasn’t slept with his teacher. He doesn’t do drugs, his parents aren’t divorced, and he’s suffered no traumas unless you count being dumped by a slew (okay, nineteen) of girls named Katherine.

    So, why am I reading this? I have been programmed to only care about supernatural cute boys. I call this my mid life crisis. If I give in and self analyze, I would say that I’

    Colin Singleton is not a vampire or a werewolf or a sorcerer or a punning Austin zombie. He doesn’t live in a dystopian society, he hasn’t slept with his teacher. He doesn’t do drugs, his parents aren’t divorced, and he’s suffered no traumas unless you count being dumped by a slew (okay, nineteen) of girls named Katherine.

    So, why am I reading this? I have been programmed to only care about supernatural cute boys. I call this my mid life crisis. If I give in and self analyze, I would say that I’m avoiding real life. I’m letting myself get caught up in situations that I would have daydreamed about at maybe age 12. Being the ‘damsel in distress’, being unconditionally loved for qualities that I have not yet discovered in myself. Feeling safe, always protected by really cute guys… the bad guys always get caught, and everyone lives happily ever after.

    What I’m

    is that memory of that… drive… that happens somewhere around age 16... Where you feel like you have the ability to change the world. That you will go off and do amazing things and that your whole life is waiting for you. It’s a rush. I remember sitting in the Boston Commons on summer night in 1988, I was 17, freshly graduated waiting to start college… we had just moved into an apartment in East Boston and Jimmy Cliff was playing a concert in the park. I didn’t have to tell anyone where I was going or when I would be back. I remember sitting on this hill, staring at the sky through the trees, listening to that reggae beat and thinking ‘I am free. I am young and I can do anything.’

    THAT is what I’m running from. So, when I finished

    , I almost resented Green for reminding me of that. Then, I had this selfless epiphany. This is not for me. This was written for that generation. Those kids that are getting ready to change the world. They want to ‘matter’, they want to be remembered. I really envy them. Not in that self piteous way… just in that youthful energetic way. I get this way each fall when I watch the kids slumping off to UVM. They look so hopeful and serious. Why does that have to fade?

    This is a road trip book. I’ve seen it listed as such. I would expand on that ‘road trip’ theme and make it not just a literal one. Colin wants to get away from being the dumpee of all girls named Katherine. But, it’s than that. Colin has always been considered a ‘child prodigy’ and he’s thinking that maybe that isn’t enough to ‘matter’ or to make a mark on the world. After all, a prodigy isn’t a genius… A prodigy regurgitates. A genius creates. Colin’s road trip is much more mental than led on.

    I like that Colin doesn’t sparkle or have telling scars. I picture him as a cooler Napoleon Dynamite. He has a sidekick. A pudgy Horatio. He has a talent for anagramming. And he likes math. Okay, I was all for it except for the math part. Ugh. I admit, I skimmed a lot of the theorems and graphs and algebraic equations. Lost me there.

    But, anagramming…

    I am an anagramming nerd.

    Colin and his Horatio, Hassan, end up leaving Chicago and turning up in Gutshot, Tennessee. THAT is a horror story --‘dead end’ turn-- of events. I went all Ned Beatty and shuddered and almost stopped reading. But, I’m learning to fight my biases… it’s one of those mid life crisis goals. The south is NOT scary… not always. (Gutshot? Really? That was hard to swallow, I’m sure there are towns named that and all, but I’m taking baby steps here) Colin has many

    moments in Gutshot and each one makes me love him more. He’s a sweet kid who just wants to be loved, to not be left behind. Who can fault that?

    Colin quotes Democritus

    What a great quote to pass on to Generation Z or whatever they are now. I wish that I had that when I was young. I might not have set myself up for failure… I hope that these kids carry this with them because I feel a kinship with them. I was a Reagan kid, they are Bush 34 kids… we know…

    This book really does give hope if not understanding the need for hope. (if that makes sense) I hear that there is a movie in the works. I’m sure they’ll pretty up Colin and make him seem quirky and all that, but I hope that they delve into that next level and give props to that insecurity, because that’s what we need. To see that it’s okay if you only matter to yourself. Ned Vizzini’s

    had that same sort of message and I am saddened that that movie didn’t do well, that teens care more about zombies or jackasses.

    My next

    moment: to pass this lesson on to my kids.

    Oh, and I want to mention that there are footnotes in this book. And it’s okay. It’s more like the DFW type footnotes where you feel like you have an extra character that you can turn to and say ‘I know, right?’… It’s all good.

  • Megs ♥

    This was by far the worst experience I've ever had reading a John Green book. I really always enjoy his writing and humor, but this one just didn't do anything for me.

    I don't think the book was horrible, but it couldn't hold my attention too long so I was happy it was very short. If it was any longer I probably wouldn't have finished it. I couldn't stand Colin. He was annoying and whiny and just because he acknowledges that fact himself doesn't mean it makes it any less annoying to read about. H

    This was by far the worst experience I've ever had reading a John Green book. I really always enjoy his writing and humor, but this one just didn't do anything for me.

    I don't think the book was horrible, but it couldn't hold my attention too long so I was happy it was very short. If it was any longer I probably wouldn't have finished it. I couldn't stand Colin. He was annoying and whiny and just because he acknowledges that fact himself doesn't mean it makes it any less annoying to read about. His friend Hassan was alright. I didn't mind him and I thought he had some funny parts, but most of the humor with him was about his fatness and man boobs. That's not exactly my kind of humor, but I'm sure there are other people who love that kinda stuff. Lindsey wasn't that interesting either. She wasn't annoying like Colin, but I just found myself thinking they would hook up and that's it.

    To me this book was just bland. It didn't have any good twists or an engaging plot. Usually I feel lots of emotions when reading one of John's books, but with this one I felt nothing but boredom. He does include his signature road trip where the character learns some lessons about life, but getting that far was a struggle for me.

    I wouldn't recommend this book to someone who wants to try John Green, because I rate this so much lower than all of his other books. The writing style and formula is present, but it's just not as good.

  • Simcsa

    I tried. I really did, believe me! But I can't do it, it's boring, it has no plot whatsoever and I don't like any of the characters. I'm not going to torture myself..

  • Etnik

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  • Josu

    Un libro sin nada que contar, nada original y que carece de trama. Empecemos por el protagonista, Colin, siendo un clon del resto de personajes de John Green.

    eres un personaje interesante

    . Pero eso no es lo gracioso, lo gracioso es saber que es feo, raro, antisocial... ¿y me tengo que creer que ha tenido 19 novias? D-I-E-C-I-N-U-E-V-E. Sí, es todo muy realista. Él es un

    , y encima casi todas sus novias han sido guapas e incluso ha estado con alguna popular. ME MEO ENCIMA.

    Tene

    Un libro sin nada que contar, nada original y que carece de trama. Empecemos por el protagonista, Colin, siendo un clon del resto de personajes de John Green.

    eres un personaje interesante

    . Pero eso no es lo gracioso, lo gracioso es saber que es feo, raro, antisocial... ¿y me tengo que creer que ha tenido 19 novias? D-I-E-C-I-N-U-E-V-E. Sí, es todo muy realista. Él es un

    , y encima casi todas sus novias han sido guapas e incluso ha estado con alguna popular. ME MEO ENCIMA.

    Tenemos a Hassan, el mejor amigo de Colin, que aunque es UN intento de incluir algo

    e intentar normalizarlo (es musulmán), se convierte en un personaje que vuelve a ser un plagio del resto de personajes secundarios de John Green y además se convierte en un cliché gigante, utilizando su cultura y religión para hacer la inmensa mayoría de sus chistes. ¡Genial, John Green, te ha salido el tiro por la culata!

    Y luego Lindsey, una chica también popular, buenorrísima y que de verdad, ¡oh, vaya!, también resulta ser una cerebrito superparecida a Colin. No, no es predecible.

    Consigue añadirle algo a la historia, y me molesta, porque es una Alaska o una Margo de la vida. Solitaria, incomprendida... pero que con Colin puede ser ella misma.

    Me da pena que

    sea tan mala, porque John Green es un autor que en el fondo me gusta, pero creo que esta novela no se sostiene por ningún lado. La trama no es clara (si es que podemos encontrarla), el hecho de incluir el teorema es absurdo porque no contribuye en nada, ni a los personajes ni a la historia, y en general, no hay nada que contar. No hay una moraleja, no hay giros en la trama. Es lineal, completamente lineal, sin evolución de los personajes. Predecible. Aburrida. No tiene nada que digas: oh, vaya, voy a seguir leyendo a ver qué pasa.

    ¿Qué me intentas contar, que te vas de viaje con tu amigo a un sitio perdido para buscarte la vida porque estás depresivo porque tu novia número diecinueve te ha dejado y a los dos días ya estás bien? Por no hablar de que no te crees que el personaje de Colin sea tan rarísimo como lo pintan. Es que es un chico tan normal para este tipo de novelas que no sé qué tiene de especial. Ah, sí,

    .

    Argh.


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