Monday, July 07, 2014

Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Year of Release: 2005 (this edition-2012)
ISBN: 0141346094
Source: Gifted

Number of Pages: 213

Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart 
When 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-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.

I'm going to get the bad stuff out of the way first before I go on to tell you what's good about this book. 

Things this book lacked:
- Consistent and unpredictable plot
- Flexibility
- Length
- Well-written characters

Things this book definitely did not lack:
- Anagrams
- Footnotes
- Math
- Tangents
- The words 'fug', 'fugging' and 'mother fugger'
- Arabic words

Overall, I really did like this book, but my goodness was there a lot of boring, tiresome and irrelevant sh*t in there. I get that that it is part of the storyline and supposed to build upon Colin's character, but some of it was just completely immaterial. 

The story, basically, is based around a child prodigy named Colin who gets dumped by the nineteenth girl he's dated named Katherine and his best friend Hassan takes him on a road trip with no particular destination in mind. Eventually they end up in this crappy town called Gutshot in Tennessee and start living with a girl they meet there named Lindsey and her mother, because apparently it's normal to start living with complete strangers in an unfamiliar town. 
Throughout the book, Colin is trying to develop a formula to predict the future of all romantic relationships, specifically, who will dump who in said relationship.  
While this is really interesting, it's also stupid. Logically, how can one predict the future with math? The future is unpredictable, something Colin eventually came to realise in the conclusion of this book. While the math involved is arguably interesting to those who understand and like math, it was certainly mind-numbing to me. 

Then there is the issue of the appendix. Appendices do not belong in fiction. Sometimes there are exceptions, but as a general rule, I do not think they should be present in fictional work. Fiction requires no real explanation, no justification. Appendices are pointless in fictional books. 

Now for the positive stuff. Overall, I did enjoy this book. I always enjoy John Green's work, I think he is a very talented writer and I enjoy his books immensely. The writing in this book was excellent. Without his wonderful writing, this book would have bombed and I probably wouldn't have made it to the end. I did find some parts of it funny, particularly the Colin and TOC fight, which was downright hilarious. Hassan was a particularly humorous character, and he was fun to read about. 
I was really intrigued by this book and is one I will most probably read again! 

The good in this book definitely outweighs the bad, and I think it is worth reading if you're interested. 

Why did Colin and Hassan move in with total strangers?
What's Colin's and Hassan's parents been doing? 
When do they finally go home?
Do you think this book needed a few more anagrams? 

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