An Abundance of Katherines

I am emotionally conflicted about John Green books. I recently heard someone say they liked An Abundance of Katherines better than The Fault In Our Stars, which is preposterous; then I heard someone else say they liked Paper Towns best, and I haven’t read that one yet so I can’t judge (though it seems unlikely); then I heard someone else say they like Looking For Alaska best, and all of it has just blown my mind. Not many books in this genre can be better than The Fault In Our Stars — which is emotional torture in the best possible way — certainly not An Abundance of Katherines, which I did not love, hence the emotional conflict.

An Abundance of Katherines is about a teenage boy named Colin Singleton whose only desires in life are a) to be a child-prodigy-turned-genius and b) have a fulfilling, lifelong relationship with a girl named Katherine. Colin is a child prodigy and is very smart, but not quite the genius he wishes to be, and he is in a relationship with a girl named Katherine, albeit 18 different Katherines. Since the third grade, Colin has “dated” and consequently been dumped by 18 different girls named Katherine. The last Katherine, who also happens to be the first Katherine who started the whole trend in the first place, effects him the most as theirs is the longest and most serious relationship. In order to cheer him up after this latest dumping, Colin’s chubby Arabic friend Hassan suggests a road trip. Said road trip takes the boys from Chicago, Illinois to beautiful Gutshot, Tennessee, where they meet miss Lindsey Lee Wells.

Lindsey’s family owns the local factory, the only source of employment for the entire town of Gutshot. Lindsey and her mother, Hollis, take an immediate liking to Colin and Hassan, and soon recruit them to help with a little Gutshot history project for which they have to conduct video interviews with various town residents. The project takes the three teenagers on many adventures, and along the way Colin and Lindsey grow quite fond of one other. Ironically, Lindsey is already seeing a different boy named Colin, and Colin can only date Katherines, so he begins work on a mathematical theorem proving that he can predict relationships — specifically, who will dump whom — based on certain variables: age, social status, etc. The theorem becomes his obsession (in place of a Katherine), and soon it applies to Lindsey in more ways than one. (You can probably guess what those ways are.)

Honestly, part of the reason I just could not get into this book is the theorem. WAY too much math. There are also a lot of footnotes, which always distract me, and I am as fed up with Colin as his friend Hassan is for being just downright annoying. Colin is never satisfied with just being smart, he has to be a genius, and he moons over the first and last Katherine for a couple hundred pages, yet I never even get invested in that relationship because the book starts at the end of it. I just don’t care that Colin is heartbroken, you know?

I feel like I haven’t not liked a book in a while, and the fact that it’s a John Green book I didn’t like is bothering me. Alas, onto the next.


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