Book Review: An Abundance Of Katherines

NAME: An Abundance Of Katherines

AUTHOR(S): John Green

SYNOPSIS (AS TOLD BY THE BOOK COVER):

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 over-weight, 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 and average Dumpees everywhere, and may finally win him the girl.

CONTENT WARNING (FOR THE BOOK): EXESSIVE CURSING, EXPLICIT CONTENT

REACTION UPON FINISHING:

Good. It's... good.
Good. It’s… good.

THOUGHTS ON…  THE STORY:

Road trip stories have a basic formula. At least two people, be they enemies, friends, or complete strangers are shoved into a car together and hit the road. Together they come across weird places and wacky characters, maybe with a few obstacles and a deadline to add tension. Then they reach their destination or return home with either a new romance and/or improved knowledge of the world.

As opposed to the real reaction of returning home from a road trip. "Sleep. Give me SLEEP."
As opposed to the real reaction of returning home from a road trip. “Sleep. Give me SLEEP.”

And for the most part… it works. I must admit, the classic road trip plot is one of my favorite stock narratives. There are just so many different things you can do with it. You could travel to the White House, San Francisco, or The World’s Largest Ball Of Twine. An Abundance Of Katherines does not work like most road trips. Colin is feeling crappy and burnt out, so his friend Hassan drags him on a road trip. A road trip with only one stop (unless you count the gas station). Rather early in the journey, they come across a small town by the name of Gutshot. And they get jobs. And they stay there till the end of the book. I’m not saying that was a BAD turn of events, this certainly isn’t a bad book. It’s just… I wanted my wacky road trip! Call it setting myself up for disappointment, but in the beginning, the BOOK promised me a road trip! Blargh. But for what it is, this book is pretty good. Very enjoyable. But not perfect. I get that some teens curse a lot, but there was a lot of cursing in this book. A lot. And if you’re a kid trying to convince yourself as you read this that you’re mature enough for that kind of language… you’re probably not mature enough for that kind of language. Also, I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. They build up to this reveal, the reveal is that there’s a problem that will eventually ruin everything, and… there is no solution. At least not that they come up with. And I get that stuff like that happens sometimes. But driving off into the sunset doesn’t seem quite like the best way to handle things. Hmmm…

THOUGHTS ON… THE CHARACTERS:

Colin Singleton wants to MATTER. That’s sort of his big deal, the aspect of life he has to come to terms with. He’s also a genius, awkward, and a bit introverted. He’s rather enjoyable. Hassan is a foul-mouth who isn’t afraid to say what he thinks. He’s also Arabic. I bring this up only because he would introduce himself to some people as “Not a terrorist.” I think that’s supposed to be a joke. Lindsey is a girl who pretends to be slightly different with different people. I can’t remember her motivation for doing this, it probably had something to do with popularity. Hollis is the hardworking mother of Lindsey, caring both for her and all the workers of the factory she owns. All these characters are to some degree likable and enjoyable, but at the end of the day I realize that there are characters from other books I care for far, FAR more. What I’m trying to say is that you can read this book over and over again and not really have a big problem with them, but they will never be a favorite character. There are also some side characters. The Other Colin (jerk boyfriend), JATT (jeans are too tight… more of a fixture than a personality), SOCT (short one chewing tobacco, same as JATT), and… Katrina. Katrina is… perky? A man chaser? I can easily overlook JATT and SOCT’s lack of… anything, really, but Katrina participates in the story! She is a friend of Lindsey, she dates Hassan, she has a plot twist and I hardly know anything about her! She dated a hot guy once and dumped him. She’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. That’s it. That’s all we’re given. The thing is, Colin, our main character, never really interacts with her. So we have nothing to go on. And after the twist, she fades into the background never to be heard from again. Can you say plot device?

Where's Katrina? Can you spot her character development?
Where’s Katrina? Can you spot her character development?

OVERALL THOUGHTS:

This was a good book. Not bad or great, but better than mediocre. I don’t really have much to say about it. I wouldn’t advise against it, there are some funny bits, but there are so many more books I could recommend.

RE-READABILITY:

Medium. That sounds about right.


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