Colin has dated 19 girls named Katherine and been dumped by all of them, hence John Green’s title An Abundance of Katherines. Relationships, Colin believes, can be measured by a mathematical equation based on how much a person is a dumper or a dumpee. Reeling from a breakup with Katherine XIX, Colin hits the open road with Hassan, an overweight Arab and his only friend, winding up visiting the tomb of the archduke Franz Ferdinand in Gutshot, TN and sticking around Gutshot.
‘He was generally a pessimistic person, but he seemed to make an exception for Katherines: he always felt they would come back to him. The feeling of loving her and being loved by her welled up in him, and he could taste the adrenaline in the back of his throat, and maybe it wasn’t over, and maybe he could feel her hand in his again and hear her loud, brash voice contort itself into a whisper to say I-love-you in the very quick and quiet way that she had always said it. She said I love you as if it were a secret, and an immense one.’
I’m impressed by how intelligent John Green’s books are. They are multilayered and quirky, working on plot, character AND writing style levels. Never once did I feel as though An Abundance Of Katherines was dumbed down or pandering for a teenage level.
‘Driving was a kind of thinking, the only kind he could then tolerate. But still, the thought lurked out there, just beyond the reach of his headlights: he’d been dumped. By a girl named Katherine. For the nineteenth time.’
I love John Green’s gawky protagonists. While he is not quite Miles Pudge or Tiny Cooper (not a protagonist but winsome), Colin holds his own. I love his preoccupation with anagrams and his interesting facts that according to Hassan are not all that interesting. I love that Colin is scared he’ll only ever be a prodigy and not a genius and that he won’t leave an indelible mark on the world.
‘She laughed and pulled her hand away and placed it flat against his knee. Her fingers were soft. He could suddenly smell her over the dank basement. She smelled like lilacs, and then he knew that it was almost time. But he didn’t dare look at her, not yet. He just watched the blank TV screen. He wanted to draw out the moment before the moment—because as good as kissing feels, nothing feels as good as the anticipation of it.’
Further. There is MATH! Which it totally beautiful, although I don’t understand it. I just really like the idea of math and science. To me, it represents symmetry and intelligence and codes and keys and parabolas.
Then there is the girl lead, Lindsey Lee Wells who is not a Katherine, but awesome and badass and she has the coolest mother ever, Hollis, who owns a tampon string factory. Quirky, no? And how could I not go on a tiny bit about Hassan. His dialogue cracks me up, and he’s such a guy and reminds me of all these males in my life with their wisecracks. But, they both have good hearts and that’s what I love. Characters with heart, even side characters.
An Abundance Of Katherines is a fabulous read if you walk on the nerdy side and like your characters with a twist of quirky and unique and awkward.
Disclosure: Purchased copy.
Read as part of my Fill In The Gaps Project.