11 October 2011

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines

Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Publisher/Year: Dutton / 2006
Date Finished: 8 October 2011
Source/Format: Library / Print
Book #: 78

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

The Short and Sweet of It
Colin just got dumped by his 19th Katherine, and now he and his friend, Hassan, are taking a road trip to get his mind off his troubles. From Chicago, they end up in Gutshot, Tennessee where Colin meets new people, compiles an oral history of the town, attempts to work out a new Theorem, and does not fall in love with a girl named Katherine.

A Bit of a Ramble
John Green is just a terrific writer. I am not sure if he captures teenage years realistically or idealistically. The characters, their problems, their words, their feelings all read authentic to me, but I do occasionally wonder if that's what youth was really like or if it's just how I've chosen to remember it. Oddly enough, the validity of memory is one of the topics the book touches on.

Primarily, however, this story is about feeling unique, about being yourself or finding yourself, or at the very least understanding that there is a "you", a complicated, complex, individuality that cannot be button-holed or ignored. At least that's what I get out of it. The three main characters, Colin, Hassan, and Lindsey, begin the book flat. Colin defines himself according to two main ideas: his prodigy-ness and his dumpee-ness. Hassan is absent from himself, a man of complete inaction. And Lindsey is whatever she needs to be at the time. One has too specific of an identity, one no identity, and one too many.

Another giant point in this book's favor? Footnotes. I have a thing for footnotes. Seriously. I don't think I've ever read a footnote I didn't like, and they add something to books that really increases my pleasure, especially when they hit that perfect mix of funny and informative. Even outside the footnotes, the book is also extremely quotable with tidbits of wisdom, seriously funny lines, and deep moments.

Definitely readable.

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Side Note: I actually got this book from the library along with Green's Looking for Alaska. I never get books from the library for a reason I cannot completely fathom other than I am relatively lazy about going to the library, and I don't like reading on a time table. But one day, I left work, decided I wanted pizza for dinner, and headed to the library to wait for the pizza to be ready to pick up. Surrounded by all those books, I just couldn't go home without two. :)


  1. Between my daughter and I, I bet we have at least four of his books but neither of us has read them yet. They are all the rage in our middle school.

  2. The use of footnotes is just brilliant, isn't it? This book doesn't seem to get nearly as much love as John Green's others, but I really enjoyed it.

  3. I loved this book but it wasn't my favorite of all John Green's. But I LURVED the footnotes. *swoon*

  4. It sounds like there might be some good messages to take from this book. I was just looking at this book on my shelf the other day wondering what it was like, lol.

  5. While I love John Green as a person and his vlogs and everything else, I just don't seem to connect with his writing. This book was so tedious to me. :/

  6. I want to read this not only because of your thoughtful review but also because the title is in the form of an equation. I admit it, I'm a sucker for things like that.


  7. I have wanted to read this book for quite awhile now. At first it was the title that interested me, but after having read a little about it, it was also the plot. I am glad to hear that you ended up loving this one. I need to check it out soon. It sounds like it would be perfect for me. Thanks for the very wonderful review!

  8. I also love books with footnotes. They really do make it fun!

  9. I've never read this author, and I admit that generally, the plot synopses I see don't really draw me in. But so many of my trusted bloggers love him that I should give him a chance.

    I am excited to learn your thoughts on one of your upcoming reads - Readicide sounds terrifying but important.

  10. I haven't read this one yet but I agree, Green is a great writer. I'm actually NOT a fan of footnotes but I'll try to enjoy them when I get to this one.

  11. I just read another review of this book so maybe it's a sign that I need to read this! Looking for Alaska is a fabulous read! It's funny and sad and will leave you nodding at some of the things the characters say. Happy reading.

  12. I love the cover … but I'm not sure I want to read the book. I wsn't a big fan of Looking for Alaska so I'm not sure this would be my cup of tea.

  13. I love footnotes too! I want to read this one.

  14. I want to read Green but am having a hardtimewith which one to read first. Maybe this one?

  15. I have this one and hope to get to it...you know, eventually :-) I seem to like footnotes, too -- but only if they are clearly marked in the text. I hate it when I read a whole page only to realize I've missed the cue to read a footnote and have to search back through the text to find it!

  16. Yep, footnotes are cool. I read this book this month, too! I'll add the link - I did not do much of a review AT ALL on this. good job.

  17. Bummer--I started to type out "I think I'll read this one during the readathon" but then remembered the dueling monsters. Blarg.

    I really enjoy Green but know what you mean about realistic versus idealistic. I can't figure out which one he is either. Loved Paper Towns.


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