Alert the media AND stop the presses: three days, three finished books. I’m on a roll, baby.
This book comes courtesy of Rebekah Koontz and her “blog book club” post from this past March.
I started An Abundance of Katherines by the incredibly intelligent John Green just the other day, and finished it tonight in bed. For my one sentence review of the book, just anagram the title of this post. If you’re not into that sort of kinky stuff, here’s a review.
So, short synopsisisisisisis…
Colin Singleton is a high school graduate/former child prodigy from Chicago who has an unhealthy obsession with girls named Katherine. He has dated and been dumped by 19 of them. Together with his best friend Hassan, they set out on the open road…only to end up in Gutshot, Tennessee, final resting place of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and home to equally neurotic teenager Lindsey Lee Wells and a slew of other characters. Through an assortment of random facts, anagrams, words in different languages, and Colin’s complicated math theorem, they all manage to learn something about themselves. There’s some romance, some fighting, and plenty of footnotes to go around.
Overall, it was a good, easy read…but I kept waiting for that “yes, and…why should I care about this?” moment. It never really arrived, but the last few chapters and the epilogue had some degree of unpredictability. I wouldn’t say that I couldn’t put it down, but it interested me just enough to want to finish it, and now I’m done.
I mean, it wasn’t as much of a waste and I’m making it out to be. Lindsey Lee Wells is a fantastic character; she veers close to Mary-Sue territory but she has her faults. For some reason, I kept picturing Lindsay Lohan, maybe because of the name, or maybe because she (Lohan, not the character) has been in the news lately for completing her community service. Good on you, Lindsay. I also liked the fact that Green gave Colin a Muslim friend as a sidekick. The book didn’t delve too deeply into Islam, but I think that it really rounded out the character and was a positive, real-world portrayal of a Muslim teenager, kind of like what Barbra Streisand did for the American Jewish woman in Funny Girl. (It always comes back to Babs, doesn’t it?)
Now for the criticism…
I did not like the main character, Colin Singleton. I just didn’t find much about him worth caring about. He just seemed so wrapped up in himself, even at the end of the book. He was so neurotic, he just didn’t see anyone or anything around him, even when things got better for him. I’m just glad it wasn’t written in first person; otherwise, it would’ve been unbearable.
Overall, though, I’m glad I read it. After reading about Green’s other books – The Fault In Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, and Paper Towns – I’m convinced that this one was just a pedestrian attempt. Still a huge John Green fan, regardless.
By the way, the title of this post anagrams to “this book was not that great.”