An Abundance of Katherines: Review

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Author: John Green.

Publisher: Dutton

About the Book: 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 (via Goodreads.)

Review:  Now, I admit to being a bit of a John Green/Vlogbrothers fan. I liked Looking for Alaska, The Fault in our Stars, I enjoy the Vlogbrother videos and was definitely obsessed with The Lizzie Bennett Diaries so I had some very definite expectations for Katherines.

These expectations were not met.

Katherines, for me, was a disappointment.

The book had potential but it never quite lived up to it due, in no small part, to the fact that the main character is just so unlikable. Colin, the child prodigy, who, like the book, hash’t lived up to his potential spends the majority of the book whining about this fact and trying to “make his mark” by coming up with a theorem to explain why some people break up with others. Again sounds like it could be interesting; it was not, after a few chapters the theorem becomes quite tiresome as does Colin.

Colin’s talent for anagrams also feels a bit lifeless and like Green was trying to repeat what he did with Miles and last words in Looking for Alaska but it doesn’t work here (mostly because they anagrams are not very good anyway.) This book made me hate anagrams and footnotes! At first the footnotes at the bottom of the page were fun and entertaining but after a few chapters they just became distracting.

There was also an excessive amount of math. At one point Green even promises there will be no more math. This is too a lie. It kept going. 

The plot as well just became incredibly slow once the road trip ends, which for the record this lasts about one chapter, and Colin arrives in Tennessee. In the end all that happens is that Colin kisses a girl not named Katherine.

All of that said, the book does have some redeemable moments, namely whenever Hassan appears. Hassan is the gem of the book. He is responsible for the moments that did make me laugh out loud, all three of them. He’s also the reason why I hated the book. His friendship with Colin is very one-sided. All Colin ever does is complain to Hassan but he’s never there when Hassan needs to do the same. There is an incident when Hassan confronts Colin about this, and Colin apologises but nothing changes as a result so it makes the entire thing feel empty.

Ultimately, Katherines is lacking in almost every aspect, decent plot, character development and I would not recommend it to anyone. Actually, if this had been the first John Green I’d ever picked up, I probably wouldn’t have read any others.

2/5.

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