Book Review: An Abundance Of Katherines By John Green
I started reading John Green’s books when I was first intrigued by the plot behind The Fault In Our Stars. I’ve since then told myself that I would his other works. This is my third book from him of which the second one was Looking For Alaska. I expected a pretty good read from this book. In fact, I raised my standards a bit high for this one since I really wanted to read a John Green book for the longest time.
The story is about this boy named Colin who gets dumped 19 times by women bearing the name Katherine. In this book, he ventures outside his safe zone in an attempt to forget his recent break-up and maybe even provide an ingenious theorem that can potentially predict the outcome of any relationship.
The plot sounded a bit too nerdy for me but I figured it was John Green’s self-invented humor that provided this sort of plot and I found it mildly interesting if not original. When you read a plot like this, you can become two kinds of persons:
1 The one who would veer away from this book.
2 The one who would actually read it.
Luckily, I’m the second guy and it helped that I’m a bit academically inclined to read books on technical analysis of whatever it is the book is supposed to analyze in the first place. Although I can’t imagine the general populace who suffers from mathematical anxiety to read this off the bat with no clue as to how great the author is.
Character development was relatively simple and straightforward. John didn’t hide anything from the readers this time, it was as if he made sure the readers understood that this character is a geek and a loser compared to most people and this other character simply wants to pretend their way to life so they can be socially accepted. John Green was able to create the common stereotypes of society’s youth in this book but with a twist. We got the nerd who actually had a lot of girls, the lazy and spoiled rich kid who is too happy-go-lucky, the girl who becomes a different person when being with different people so she can be liked, the jock and his gang plus the whore. I’m not even kidding about the last one. The setting was like in highschool except done in the woods. This was brilliantly executed but the characters were a bit dull, perhaps came out flat, and not even Colin’s funny best friend can save them from being labelled as normal/common characters in a book. Again, before you burn my blog post, the characters were pretty decent but not quite as decent as those with LFA and TFIOS. I feel that John might be experimenting with a writing technique here since this is his follow-up book to his amazing Looking For Alaska.
The story itself was pretty decent but it’s not so good that it’ll get you hooked on finishing it in one sitting. I actually found it a bit slow or rather a bit tedious to read this one. I’m not sure if its due to the mathematical jargon or because of how much of a lame main character Colin is. Wait, he’s not actually lame but rather a bit hard to love in this book. Perhaps I don’t like brooding characters. Also, I didn’t exactly know how to feel when I was reading this book. Like, was I supposed to feel sorry or happy in some parts? There wasn’t a really good closure to some of the characters as well. I felt that some of them needed a bit more back story just to support their existence in the book. If you want to read this as something different, then by all means give it a go. It’s worth reading but don’t read this coming from a fast-paced and action packed story like I did. It’ll bore you to death if you don’t get to the middle of the story very fast.
The climax and the ending weren’t even that climactic or worthy of being the end as compared to John’s two great books. I’m not saying he didn’t finish it right but perhaps he could’ve done more. I’m guessing he did it intentionally since they weren’t great characters with great back stories to begin with. If anything, and this is to fully recognize and admire John’s writing style, is that he wanted to make the story as real possible so most will be able to relate.
What I really liked in this book, though is the way the characters all learned something about themselves. I mean, that’s basically what most YA books do but the way they learn it is pretty good. I can’t spoil it but the book centered a lot about finding what it is that each person truly wanted to be. The book tells us that life is not so simple that you can plan things out, solve problems, become successful, and you’re done. People in general think they all have it figured out but that’s not the truth of it. This book tells you that there is more to life than being known for something. It doesn’t matter if we leave an imprint in history because sooner or later it will all fade to dust. What’s truly important is that we live our lives according to how we truly want to live it and not because we have to live someone else’s dreams. We can’t afford to live life because of someone else’s dogma because life is too short for that.
The book was a nice read, something to take your mind elsewhere if you need it to be anywhere but the real world. I’m just not sure if it’s because the last books I read were fast-paced and full of action or this book just didn’t get me the way John’s other books did. Don’t get me wrong; again I’d like to reiterate that this book is a good read and but I’m just not sure whether I got used to John’s subtle wit and humor that I found it quite unnecessary when he finally went all geek for this book.
These are my favorite quotes from the book. John Green is pretty good at quote generating if I may say so myself.
You don’t remember what happened. What you remember becomes what happened.
Here’s to all the places we went. And all the places we’ll go. And here’s to me, whispering again and again and again and again: I love you
Because you’re only thinking they-might-not-like-me-they-might-not-like-me, and guess what? When you act like that, no one likes you
You can never love someone as much as you miss them
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