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#58 An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Some men have really specific tastes in women. In high school, my brother dated petite brunettes with tanned skin and names that begin with the letter A (no lie). Recent high school graduate Colin Singleton dates Katherines, and only Katherines. When the nineteenth Katherine dumps him, Colin’s friend Hassan talks him into a road trip in hope of cheering him up. It’s going to take a lot to make Colin happy. Not only is he upset about his unexpected singleness, but he’s also coming to terms with the fact that he is no longer a child prodigy, and not really “a genius.” Colin begins to construct a complex mathematical theorem that will help explain the length of his many failed relationships, and predict how long future ones will last, as a way to make sense of his messed up love life and to create something that will make him “matter.” Their road trip sidelines in Gutshot Tennessee. Here they visit the grave of Franz Ferdinand, find a temporary home in a giant pink house, and meet a girl name Lindsay that may change Colin’s ideas about Katherines for good.

This is the second book I’ve read by John Green, the first being the happy, than sad Looking for Alaska. An Abundance of Katherines is a more lighthearted read filled with great humor. It has many of the same elements as his first novel. Once again, our protagonist is a quirky teenage boy who’s more a loner than a social butterfly (although his obsession is anagrams, not famous last words). I really enjoyed a lot of the relationships in this book, but my favorite would have to be the friendship between Hassan and Colin. I also liked the fact that in Hassan, we have a positive, non-cliché picture of an Arab-American. I found Colin’s little random facts be very interesting, and even found myself quoting a few of them to my friends. Oh, and the footnotes were just great. More books should have amusing footnotes.

I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as I did Looking for Alaska. As mean as it may sound, I had a hard time believing that socially awkward Colin, who only had one friend, would have dated nineteen girls by the time he graduated high school, never mind the fact that they all shared the same name. It also took me longer to get into the character of Colin than I did with Pudge, as I found him to be a little too pretentious in the beginning. I’m ashamed to admit that the math was a little over my head in the beginning, but there’s a great essay in the back in the book that explains the steps very well, especially for mathematically challenged people like me that haven’t done anything more complex than calculating a tip in years.

I would recommend this book for fans of John Green’s work. It’s a well written novel with plenty of laughs and a really unique protagonist. I look forward to reading his third novel, Paper Towns, in the future.

Rating: four stars
Length: 279 pages
Source: Lewiston Public Library
TBR Pile: 144 books
Similar Books: Looking for Alaska (my review) of course. Also, I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (my review)
Other books I've read by this author: Looking for Alaska (my review)

I just finished another audiobook today, My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, which is a short story collection. I need to give my sore wrists/arms a break, so it will probably be up by tomorrow.

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