11 October 2011
Book Review: 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.
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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. :)