An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines

Katherine V thought boys were grossKatherine X just wanted to be friendsKatherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mailK-19 broke his heartWhen it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be 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-hap...

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Title:An Abundance of Katherines
Author:John Green
Rating:
Edition Language:English

An Abundance of Katherines Reviews

  • Maggie Stiefvater

    As a YA author, I'd heard the name "John Green" whispered in the YA wind for months, but I'd never picked up one of his books until I read a synopsis for AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES online. My husband, a pretty reluctant reader, snitched it from me and devoured it, so I was expecting great things.

    I wasn't disappointed. This story of a boy struggling to come up with a theory that describes the arc of his 19 relationships with girls named Katherine was, in many places, laugh out loud funny. Even wi

    As a YA author, I'd heard the name "John Green" whispered in the YA wind for months, but I'd never picked up one of his books until I read a synopsis for AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES online. My husband, a pretty reluctant reader, snitched it from me and devoured it, so I was expecting great things.

    I wasn't disappointed. This story of a boy struggling to come up with a theory that describes the arc of his 19 relationships with girls named Katherine was, in many places, laugh out loud funny. Even with flashbacks, the pacing never flagged, and though it wasn't the world's most unpredictable plot, I was never bored.

    The real charm in this book is both the characters -- larger than life, quirky people who don't quite fit into society -- and the dialog. In John Green's hands, dialog is a weapon . . . and he slayed me.

    I'm thrilled that he has a two other novels and a recent anthology for me to work through next.

    ***wondering why all my reviews are five stars? Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read. Consider a novel's presence on my Goodreads bookshelf as a hearty endorsement. I can't believe I just said "hearty." It sounds like a stew.***

  • Kim

    Colin Singleton is not a vampire or a werewolf or a sorcerer or a punning Austin zombie. He doesn’t live in a dystopian society, he hasn’t slept with his teacher. He doesn’t do drugs, his parents aren’t divorced, and he’s suffered no traumas unless you count being dumped by a slew (okay, nineteen) of girls named Katherine.

    So, why am I reading this? I have been programmed to only care about supernatural cute boys. I call this my mid life crisis. If I give in and self analyze, I would say that I’

    Colin Singleton is not a vampire or a werewolf or a sorcerer or a punning Austin zombie. He doesn’t live in a dystopian society, he hasn’t slept with his teacher. He doesn’t do drugs, his parents aren’t divorced, and he’s suffered no traumas unless you count being dumped by a slew (okay, nineteen) of girls named Katherine.

    So, why am I reading this? I have been programmed to only care about supernatural cute boys. I call this my mid life crisis. If I give in and self analyze, I would say that I’m avoiding real life. I’m letting myself get caught up in situations that I would have daydreamed about at maybe age 12. Being the ‘damsel in distress’, being unconditionally loved for qualities that I have not yet discovered in myself. Feeling safe, always protected by really cute guys… the bad guys always get caught, and everyone lives happily ever after.

    What I’m

    is that memory of that… drive… that happens somewhere around age 16... Where you feel like you have the ability to change the world. That you will go off and do amazing things and that your whole life is waiting for you. It’s a rush. I remember sitting in the Boston Commons on summer night in 1988, I was 17, freshly graduated waiting to start college… we had just moved into an apartment in East Boston and Jimmy Cliff was playing a concert in the park. I didn’t have to tell anyone where I was going or when I would be back. I remember sitting on this hill, staring at the sky through the trees, listening to that reggae beat and thinking ‘I am free. I am young and I can do anything.’

    THAT is what I’m running from. So, when I finished

    , I almost resented Green for reminding me of that. Then, I had this selfless epiphany. This is not for me. This was written for that generation. Those kids that are getting ready to change the world. They want to ‘matter’, they want to be remembered. I really envy them. Not in that self piteous way… just in that youthful energetic way. I get this way each fall when I watch the kids slumping off to UVM. They look so hopeful and serious. Why does that have to fade?

    This is a road trip book. I’ve seen it listed as such. I would expand on that ‘road trip’ theme and make it not just a literal one. Colin wants to get away from being the dumpee of all girls named Katherine. But, it’s than that. Colin has always been considered a ‘child prodigy’ and he’s thinking that maybe that isn’t enough to ‘matter’ or to make a mark on the world. After all, a prodigy isn’t a genius… A prodigy regurgitates. A genius creates. Colin’s road trip is much more mental than led on.

    I like that Colin doesn’t sparkle or have telling scars. I picture him as a cooler Napoleon Dynamite. He has a sidekick. A pudgy Horatio. He has a talent for anagramming. And he likes math. Okay, I was all for it except for the math part. Ugh. I admit, I skimmed a lot of the theorems and graphs and algebraic equations. Lost me there.

    But, anagramming…

    I am an anagramming nerd.

    Colin and his Horatio, Hassan, end up leaving Chicago and turning up in Gutshot, Tennessee. THAT is a horror story --‘dead end’ turn-- of events. I went all Ned Beatty and shuddered and almost stopped reading. But, I’m learning to fight my biases… it’s one of those mid life crisis goals. The south is NOT scary… not always. (Gutshot? Really? That was hard to swallow, I’m sure there are towns named that and all, but I’m taking baby steps here) Colin has many

    moments in Gutshot and each one makes me love him more. He’s a sweet kid who just wants to be loved, to not be left behind. Who can fault that?

    Colin quotes Democritus

    What a great quote to pass on to Generation Z or whatever they are now. I wish that I had that when I was young. I might not have set myself up for failure… I hope that these kids carry this with them because I feel a kinship with them. I was a Reagan kid, they are Bush 34 kids… we know…

    This book really does give hope if not understanding the need for hope. (if that makes sense) I hear that there is a movie in the works. I’m sure they’ll pretty up Colin and make him seem quirky and all that, but I hope that they delve into that next level and give props to that insecurity, because that’s what we need. To see that it’s okay if you only matter to yourself. Ned Vizzini’s

    had that same sort of message and I am saddened that that movie didn’t do well, that teens care more about zombies or jackasses.

    My next

    moment: to pass this lesson on to my kids.

    Oh, and I want to mention that there are footnotes in this book. And it’s okay. It’s more like the DFW type footnotes where you feel like you have an extra character that you can turn to and say ‘I know, right?’… It’s all good.

  • Dawn

    Things that I was sick of by the end of this book:

    1. Anagrams and tangents

    2. Use of the words jewfro, fug, fugger, fugging, kafir

    3. Colin's whining--actually, Colin in general

    4. Katherines

  • Megs ♥

    This was by far the worst experience I've ever had reading a John Green book. I really always enjoy his writing and humor, but this one just didn't do anything for me.

    I don't think the book was horrible, but it couldn't hold my attention too long so I was happy it was very short. If it was any longer I probably wouldn't have finished it. I couldn't stand Colin. He was annoying and whiny and just because he acknowledges that fact himself doesn't mean it makes it any less annoying to read about. H

    This was by far the worst experience I've ever had reading a John Green book. I really always enjoy his writing and humor, but this one just didn't do anything for me.

    I don't think the book was horrible, but it couldn't hold my attention too long so I was happy it was very short. If it was any longer I probably wouldn't have finished it. I couldn't stand Colin. He was annoying and whiny and just because he acknowledges that fact himself doesn't mean it makes it any less annoying to read about. His friend Hassan was alright. I didn't mind him and I thought he had some funny parts, but most of the humor with him was about his fatness and man boobs. That's not exactly my kind of humor, but I'm sure there are other people who love that kinda stuff. Lindsey wasn't that interesting either. She wasn't annoying like Colin, but I just found myself thinking they would hook up and that's it.

    To me this book was just bland. It didn't have any good twists or an engaging plot. Usually I feel lots of emotions when reading one of John's books, but with this one I felt nothing but boredom. He does include his signature road trip where the character learns some lessons about life, but getting that far was a struggle for me.

    I wouldn't recommend this book to someone who wants to try John Green, because I rate this so much lower than all of his other books. The writing style and formula is present, but it's just not as good.

  • Etnik

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  • Natalie Monroe

    John Green sat at his desk, quietly contemplating the ghettoization of scrambled eggs as a breakfast food and brainstorming ideas for his new book.

    His last novel,

    , had done moderately well, but he wanted to do something

    this time. Something to show his critics that he wasn't a one-trick pony yet out-of-there enough to show his nerdfighters that he was one of them. An outsider, a man of the people.

    H

    John Green sat at his desk, quietly contemplating the ghettoization of scrambled eggs as a breakfast food and brainstorming ideas for his new book.

    His last novel,

    , had done moderately well, but he wanted to do something

    this time. Something to show his critics that he wasn't a one-trick pony yet out-of-there enough to show his nerdfighters that he was one of them. An outsider, a man of the people.

    His eyes drifted to a map taped on the wall, then to an unfinished Scrabble game from last night. His brother Hank had been kicking his butt, but had to leave to mediate on the metaphysics of ice-cream trucks before he could finish spelling 'hamartia' (luckily).

    As he was idly staring at his unused letters, it hit him. "Eureka!" he yelled, glasses sliding down his nose in his excitement. "That's it! I'll write a book about anagrams! That's nerdy and chic, and in no way like my last protagonist's obsession with famous last words."

    John picked up the letters, rearranging them in his head: 'Hem, arrow, hero. Yes, hero! He needed a protagonist. Preferably one like himself. White male, middle-class range, intelligent, quirky... but as an extra twist, his quirkiness would be the result of autism.

    autism. Nothing too heavy. Fans won't be able to relate to him! Also, research is hard. I'd rather philosophize on Venn diagrams of octopi and dogs.'

    Putting the letters down, he paced the floor, dialogue and plot points bombarding his head like unformed constellations. 'My protagonist should have a best friend like Colonel. Quirky enough to get his jokes, but won't overshadow the main character, which is in no way like me. Let's make him an Arab, too. That takes care of the diversity problem. And a love interest! Gorgeous and quirky. Oh, and she should exist to teach my main character an important lesson. Yay, feminism points! But how do I get them to meet?"

    His gaze landed on the map again.

    'A road trip! That's not like Pudge and Colonel's emotional journey to find Alaska at all!'

    John laughed, clapped his hands together and sat down in front of his laptop. Then he began to write.

    'John, my man, I don't know

    you think of this stuff.'

  • Simcsa

    I tried. I really did, believe me! But I can't do it, it's boring, it has no plot whatsoever and I don't like any of the characters. I'm not going to torture myself..

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