Tuesday, July 15, 2014
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Before I get started on the review I need to make it clear that I like John Green the man and that it might color my review a little bit. For years, John Green and his brother Hank have had a YouTube channel where they attempt to, and I quote, "decrease world suck". I like what they are trying to do and I also like the fact that the people associated with them are called Nerdfighters. The name just makes me happy. Do try to remember it isn't a group of people who happen to fight nerds, but rather a group of nerds who fight to make the world a better place.
John Green is much better known for his other novels, The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska. While this novel is also categorized as young adult it is quite different from the other two. In this book we are introduced to a young man named Colin. Like most teenagers he has issues, but unlike most his issues stem from the fact that he was a child prodigy. For him the was is the part that gets to him. He is worried that he is going to be one of those child prodigies that does not move along the path towards being a genius. While he was dating this didn't seem to bother him as much, but since he was recently dumped by his nineteenth girlfriend named Katherine (I haven't had nearly that many girlfriends, let alone ones with the same name) he is back to giving all his focus to his legacy.
Colin's best friend, Hassan, sees that Colin is all broken up so he suggests that what he needs to get his head right is a road trip. With their parents convinced they head out on the open road. While out there they meet up with some interesting characters and they each have a chance to face some of their biggest faults and inner demons.
This book was quite entertaining for me. It could be that the fact that Colin was trying to perfect an equation to explain how long relationships will last was something with which I could relate. I had been working on something similar when I was younger as well. (It was quite accurate, until one couple showed up and ruined it all.) It also could be the fact that I enjoy the way John Green writes. All of his characters are incredibly loquacious and verbose. They will use 12 words when 7 would have sufficed, but I like that for some reason.
If you are looking for a good coming of age story that has some entertaining footnotes and random mathematical formulas (not too many, I promise), you are in the right place. It is a quick read at fewer than 230 pages, but John Green makes good use of them.
Rating: 4 Stars