Friday, January 27, 2012

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

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When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is 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-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself by Printz medalist John Green, acclaimed author of Looking for Alaska. (Taken from GoodReads)

After reading Looking for Alaska I was eager to continue my John Green education. Again, with the recommendation from Heidi at YABibliophile, I chose to read An Abundance of Katherines. Where Looking for Alaska was serious and thought-provoking, An Abundance of Katherines was full of hilarity and slapstick humor.

According to Colin Singleton, he is a washed up child prodigy that is smart enough to be a prodigy but never smart enough to be a genius. When his lazy but loyal best friend, Hassan finds him lying on the floor of his bedroom, mourning the break up with Katherine XIX, he convinces Colin that the only cure for his heartache is a summer road trip. So they head out in Colin’s crappy air condition-less car in search of an adventure that leads them to a town in the middle-of-nowhere (Gutshot), Tennessee. During their physical adventure, Colin also sets out on an emotional and mental challenge of creating and proving a theorem that will help boys and girls everywhere by predicting the future of their relationships.

This story was the perfect combination of smart and slapstick humor. Colin was so socially clueless and inept that you couldn’t help but shake your head at him. His love of anagrams won me over from the beginning (as did John Green’s dedication page – in which he dedicates his book to his wonderfully anagrammed wife). And as socially inept as Colin is, he still has a sense of humor that is so fantastically dry that you might miss it if you blink. Colin’s BFF, Hassan, is cheeky and profane. His irreverent attitude towards everything is reminiscent of the humor you will find in the movies American Pie and Van Wilder. Then there is Lindsey. The cute girl that is content with her small town and her simple dreams brings a much needed dose of normalcy to the story that balances everything out beautifully.

The book is full of mostly humorous foot notes used to explain things that those of us of average intelligence may not understand – definitions of words in Latin, German and French, historical trivia and the explanation of complicated theorems. Don’t worry, you don’t have to read the theorem footnotes….unless of course you are a math lover that wants to help Colin in the development of his Theorem. I found these footnotes to be highly amusing and they were a big part of why I enjoyed this book as much as I did.

In the end, I LOVED this book. It made me laugh more than any other YA book I have read so far which was very refreshing. I give this a solid 4 stars.


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