An Abundance of Katherines

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

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.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I recall listening to the audio of this one and enjoying it.

Sandy Nawrot said...

This is one of the many Green books we have on our shelves. I keep saying that one day I'm going to have a Green fest...I'm horrible about following through.

Jeanne said...

My son and his fellow puzzle-lovers absolutely loved the gimmicks in this book. There could not be too many. And then they were permanently fans of John Green, nerdfighters all the way.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

Still four stars! There always has to be a least favorite. I think that Green fans would shoot me really dirty looks if I told them Fault is my least favorite (Alaska is first followed by Paper Towns). I do own this one but given the lack of buzz just haven't been drawn to pick it up.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Diane - I would be curious to know how the audio would work for this one. There are so many equations and footnotes it might be very different to listen to it.

Sandy - Ha, I think you should absolutely start with Paper Towns. It's wonderful and it is set in Florida!

Jeanne - That's so funny. I love that this book was the perfect fit for someone and I can see how it would work much better for a guy or a girl who loves math.

Trish - Oh definitely, even if it's not my favorite it's still Green and I love his writing. An average book from him is still a great book compared to most! Funny that Fault didn't work as well for you. That one is my favorite, but everyone is different!

Dale said...

Fault is my favorite, but I enjoyed Katherines, too. I agree that the gimmicks could get annoying, but after a while I kind of thought that they were annoying just the way Colin was annoying.

Jenners said...

I enjoy a good gimmick in a book but too many might push me over the edge. Since I was on the fence about Green until I read The Fault in Our Stars, I'm not sure about this one.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Dale - Ha, I thought Colin was a bit annoying too. He's just so needy!

Jenners - Read Paper Towns if you haven't already read that one!

Jillian said...

Looking for Alaska is still my favorite JG book, and yes, this is my least favorite. However, in terms of JG books, I have to say saying 'least favorite' = still sort of a favorite :p

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Jillian - Just like pizza, even when it's not the best Green's books are still pretty awesome.