As of late the world has been on a bit of a John Green high – myself included. I’ve read all four of Green’s solo works and am now working on his collaborations (I’m about halfway through Will Grayson, Will Grayson). I was watching Vlogbrothers videos a while before I started reading Green’s books (don’t ask me why I delayed the inevitable for so long, I ask myself this question enough), but once I started I was completely hooked.
I flew through The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and Looking for Alaska so you could imagine how happy I was to get started on An Abundance of Katherines. Unfortunately, I didn’t fly through this one quite as quickly – it actually took me an absurd amount of time to get through the book. It may have had to do with me reading it in the middle of my big move, but who knows!
Before I get into what I thought about the book let me dish out a little info first.
AAoK is John Green’s second solo book and was a honour book for the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award (Looking for Alaska won the previous year). The official synopsis reads:
When it comes to relationships, everyone has a type. Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. He has dated–and been dumped by–19 Katherines. In the wake of The K-19 Debacle, Colin–an anagram-obsessed washed-up child prodigy–heads out on a road trip with his overweight, Judge Judy- loving friend Hassan. With 10,000 dollars in his pocket and a feral hog on his trail, Colin is on a mission to prove a mathematical theorem he hopes will predict the future of any relationship (and conceivably win the girl).
I…enjoyed the book. It definitely wasn’t my favourite of Green’s novels, but it was a good laugh and as all his books are: very quotable. I just couldn’t get with the main character. Colin’s way of thinking about things just wasn’t something I related to, nor did I want to really relate to him. In all honesty…he was kind of an ass. Interesting and realistic, but an ass nonetheless. His narrated voice is one of the reasons it took me a while to get through the book; when I am not a fan of a narrator I get put off reading a book. Sad, but true (ask my copy of Barry Lyndon that probably hasn’t been opened beyond page 20).
AAoK is funny though, VERY funny. For me this had everything to do with Colin’s best friend Hassan. What a character. I found myself laughing out loud on public transit at some of the stuff that came out of his mouth. I think it is safe to say that Hassan is up there with my favourite John Green characters.
And then there is Lindsey – the girl they meet in Gutshot, Tennessee. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Lindsey. I loved her character when she was talking alone with Colin, and I hated her character when she was around other people. One thing I did really admire about her character was her ability to say out loud that she is ‘fake.’ Her character is very interesting and I think when a person has a love/hate relationship with a character in a book you know you have become truly invested in it.
While AAoK was not my favourite John Green book I definitely did not hate it. It was a nice change to read something so wonderfully funny from John Green and the characters were great – even if I hated Colin a little bit. There were serious laugh out loud moments, but also moments that held such deep messages.
All in all, I did enjoy the book (anything that will make me laugh is good in my books) and it produced one of my favourite quotes (because it hold SO much truth, am I right?):
“Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”
My overall rating for An Abundance of Katherines is a 3.5 out of 5 – if you haven’t read it, read it, but if you have other John Green books to read too don’t feel bad if you want to read them first.