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An Abundance of Katherines

The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath. 

From my original review: “I enjoyed Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars a lot, but I didn’t like An Abundance of Katherines nearly as much. The book is about this boy named Colin Singleton, who has dated 19 girls named Katherine, all of which have dumped him. So he goes on a road trip with his Judge-Judy obsessed friend Hassan, and meets a girl who is miraculously not named Katherine. He’s also working on a highly complicated formula that will predict the future of any relationship. I thought An Abundance of Katherines had an interesting premise, to say the least, but it never really panned out. I just wasn’t engaged by it. The characters were OK, and there were some funny parts, but it wasn’t like I was eager to see what happened next. I did like the design of the hardcover edition though. 

‘All of John Green’s books seem to feature trips of some kind, which is definitely a good starting point, but this one just never got off the ground. I would definitely recommend Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars, but not this one. And I am looking forward to reading Looking For Alaska.”

I’ve read Looking For Alaska twice since then, and loved it the second time around. I started to reread An Abundance of Katherines with some trepidation, considering that I didn’t like it much at all the first time around. It is still in my opinion the weakest of John Green’s novels, but I definitely enjoyed it more than I did the first time, just like with Looking For Alaska. It can be annoying, but it also has a certain charm to it, one that I failed to see the first time I read it.

The premise itself is similar to the premises of John Green’s other books, but there are unique aspects to it. For example, the footnotes, and the mathematical equation that Colin works on. I also liked reading about the different Katherine’s.

An Abundance of Katherines is definitely one of John Green’s weirder novels. There are a lot of pretty strange aspects about it; all the “fug”‘s in the book, for one. Colin’s friend Hassan is also kind of strange; I don’t like him as a character that much. He’s not at all compelling.

All of John Green’s books except for his later two novels (TFiOS and Will Grayson, Will Grayson) are set in the South, and I think he writes about the South very convincingly, having lived there for much of his life. The characters and the landscape are an interesting mix of contradictions; I really find the South very interesting, both today and historically.

There are definitely many funny aspects of An Abundance of Katherines, such as the fact that Colin is trying to come up with a mathematical formula for the curve of a relationship. I didn’t understand all of the math, but there is an appendix by Daniel Biss which explains it, and I definitely got it more than I did the first time around. Most of it I could actually understand by reading the appendix. Although of course John Green understands that it’s ridiculous to think that you can graph the course of a romantic relationship. That’s why it’s funny.

I also do like the character of Lindsay, who is most definitely not a Katherine but intrigues Colin’s everywhere. Just like in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, there are two characters with the same name in this novel.

I purchased the box set of John Green’s books, with a hardcover edition of the new cover designed by a nerdfighter on right. I’m very glad that I got the box set; Looking For Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars are signed, and the case has a lot of amazing stuff on it. Definitely worth it. It can be bought here.

Anyway, An Abundance of Katherines is certainly not a phenomenal novel, and it shouldn’t be one’s first foray into John Green’s work, but I did like it more this time. The writing and the story are both really good, and I’m certainly glad I reread the book.

215 pages.

Rating: ****

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