An Abundance of Katherines
by John Green
Colin is a child prodigy, or at least a very smart kid with a lot of potential. He’s brilliant with language, but struggles with simple social skills. He’s a misanthrope, never convinced he’s truly happy or loved and never quite able to fit in and make friends. He has dated 19 girls in his short life, all named Katherine, all of which dumped him. The first was in third-grade and the last dumped him on the day they both graduated from high school.
In an effort to knock himself out of his dumpee-induced depression Colin’s best friend Hassan decides to take him on an impromptu road trip from Chicago down to Tennessee. Hassan reminded me a lot of Tiny Cooper, from Green’s co-authored book Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He’s bigger than life, a hilarious and good friend to have. The two besties have a great repartee and the odd balls they meet along the way are great small town characters.
Katherines is the most gimmicky of Green’s books, relying heavily on a combination of footnotes, anagrams, mathematical equations and graphs as part of the story. These elements were distracting most of the time and I think the book might have been better served if he’d only used one of two of them. It’s also packed with random trivia, which I enjoyed. This is the last of Green’s novels that I hadn’t read. It’s not my favorite, but I still love his conversational, intelligent writing style.
BOTTOM LINE: My least favorite of Green’s novels, but still really enjoyable. It was a bit too heavy on the gimmicks for my tastes, but the characters themselves still rang true. It’s a quick fun read, but don’t miss his other work! I’ll definitely be reading whatever he writes because in my opinion each of his books has been a step up from the last.