Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is 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.

My Review:
This was actually the first John Green book I picked up but I forgot to review it so I better get on with it now. I was unsure about the characters in the first few chapters but the two boys grew on me.

Colin was supposed to be a child prodigy but has never quite lived up to it. He frets that he will never become a proper genius and disappoint his family. His latest girlfriend, Katherine #19 has dumped him and he can't come to terms with it so his best friend Hassan decides that they are going on a road trip to experience life and stop Colin moping.

Colin is oddly endearing at times which surprised me as I normally don't like this kind of book character. He plays with words and anagrams which I found interesting. I was somewhat fascinated by his obsession with Katherines-he has dated 19 girls called Katherine and regards girls of that name as his type. Hassan is trying to get away from his father, and is telling everyone he meets that he is not a terrorist, which amused me as nobody ever thought he was one or racially abused him. The road trip stops at the town of Gutshot to see what is billed as the grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and the boys end up staying for a while. It is here that they meet Lindsey Lee Wells who is happy to give them somewhere to stay. Lindsey is a smart and funny girl and I liked her character.

I think part of Colin's insecurity comes from his parents. They are not happy about the road trip, thinking that he could be using the time to learn a new language or something useful. They put so much pressure on him to be the prodigy that he feels he isn't measuring up. So he sought constant reassurance from Katherine that she loved and valued him, to the point where she got fed up with him and dumped him. Hassan is the only one who injects some fun into his life but Colin is not comfortable with fun.

As well as Hassan declaring he is not a terrorist, he and Colin have a lot of funny moments. The scene where they pretend to the local boys that Colin is a French student with Tourette's is hilarious! Every time he shouted 'MERDE!' I was off sniggering again! Colin also had some pretty funny thoughts:

'To Colin, tampons were a little bit like grizzly bears: he was aware of their existence but he'd never seen one in the wild and didn't really care to.'

This is not a fantastic read but there was enough in it for me to enjoy. We see Colin starting to learn about life after Katherine and you just want him to forget her and look at Lindsey instead. Hassan is on a quest to find love on the trip as well, and their arrival causes secrets amongst the teenagers in the town to come spilling out, which adds a bit more to the plot. It is quirky and funny in places though I admit that the maths bits go way over my head...
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png


  1. Thanks for sharing but I think I will give John Green a miss. I do like quirky and funny but nope will avoid just now! You have done so well with your contemporary reads !!!!

    1. Having tried 5 of his books, my ratio is three abandoned, one ok and one pretty good. He is very hit and miss and an acquired taste! Despite The Fault in Our Stars being really good, I doubt I'd read anything else he brings out.