Monday, April 15, 2013

A Book Review from Caitlyn

An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green 

Jump into the turbulent and rather tragic love life of Colin Singleton, a failed child prodigy, as he recounts the end of his 19th relationship with year another, you guessed it, Katherine. After being dumped for the 19th time, Colin and his friend, Hassan, decide to take to embark on a road trip with no set destination. These two seemingly "un-dateable" boys land in Gutshot, Tennessee to visit the grave of the Archduke Ferdinand and a mess of incidences land them there for their vacation, working with Lindsey Wells (a paramedic- in-training) and Hollis (her heavy-set, pink-loving, factory-owning mother). Colin's story unfolds as he begins to work on a Theorem that will mathematically represent his relationships with all of the Katherines he has dated and predict his future of "Dumpee" status. 

While I am not one for romance novels (no Nora Roberts or Fabio for me!), I have found that I do enjoy John Green's novels that include not only young love, but also self- discovery. His main characters are usually relatable and his writing style is hypnotic. Once introduced to his writing through The Fault in Our Stars, I bought and read almost every single one of his books. Most of them have the same general storyline: boy meets girl, girl changes boy's life, something drastically tragic happens (according to the boy), and there is some sort of epiphany at the end when the boy's world is suddenly illuminated and he suddenly understands his entire existence. Don't get me wrong. They are all well written, are sufficiently sarcastic, and each has moments when you want to slap the living daylights out of the main character (mostly because he is whining for a good chapter-and-a-half). 

Somehow, this book was different. The character didn't start off relatable. He was cold, very logical, and was probably the most frustrating main character I have ever encountered. However, this was successfully off-set by John Green's witty and sarcastic humor which was channeled by his supporting character, Colin's best (and only friend), Hassan. I could relate to Hassan. He is pretty much the lazy cat in all of us; he is taking a year off before college, sits watching tv and eating all day, and, really, just isn't motivated to do anything. Hassan wants to kill Colin just as much as we do and we immediately love him for it. 

One of the things I find the most interesting about this novel is the incorporation of footnotes. Every now and then (every couple of pages or so), Green places footnotes next to different words and phrases and uses them as portals to interesting facts, like math you didn't need or want to know or the history of WWI. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and for anyone who loves John Green, romantic comedies, or a hilariously sarcastic lazy bum who turns out to be a child prodigy's best friend, then, by all means, READ AWAY!!! 

-Caitlyn M. '14

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