When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. He's also a washedup child prodigy with ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a passion for anagrams, and an overweight, Judge Judy-obsessed best friend. Colin's on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which will predict the future of all relationships, transform him from a fading prodigy into a true genius, and finally win him the girl.
Letting expectations go and allowing love in are at the heart of Colin's hilarious quest to find his missing piece and avenge dumpees everywhere.
What can I say, other than John Green is a writing god *bows down to him.* I wasn't quite sure what to expect with An Abundance of Katherines. But whatever I was expecting, what I actually got was so much better. I got a nerdy adorkable protagonist, a best friend who is Muslim and frequently feels the need to say "I'm not a terrorist," a road trip, and a female lead that I think any girl can relate to. This paired with John Green's hilarious and smart writing made for an awesome read.
I have said often that I prefer first person narration. I like getting into the main character's head, and being able to feel what they're feeling. I have few favorite third person novels--but An Abundance of Katherines is definitely one of them. The writing is so witty and hilarious and relatable that it got to points where I forgot that it was in third person. John has this way of making the things he has to say really hit home. It felt throughout reading this book as though I had little John Green in my head--seriously his voice was reading the book to me the whole time. He's the type of writer where he'll say something and you'll just sit there for a second and think "Wow...that's just so...smart." I said this recently in my Writers vs Storytellers post--but it's true--I will read anything J. Green ever writes. I laughed out loud to the point where my mom asked what could possibly be so funny. But I loved it all. The hilarious footnotes. Fuggers. Dingleberries. All. of. it.
It's difficult these days to come up with a unique contemporary romance--it seems as though everything has been done before. But John manages to make this story so unique in such a nerdy, fun way. Colin Singleton was a childhood prodigy. Who has dated--and been dumped by--19 Katherines. Yeah--I know, that's a lot of Katherines. Colin was left heartbroken when K-19 dumped him... so his hilarious friend Hassan suggests that they go on a road trip that leads them to Gutshot, Tennessee, and Lindsey Lee Wells. All the while Colin is struggling to come up with his relationship theorem. Can't say that I ever heard that one before. While I do admit, sometimes personalities got a bit extreme, I got why each character was the way they were. Honestly, this book is so much more about each character's journey than the plot.
Colin was a childhood prodigy, a nerd in every sense of the word. I loved him. I loved the anagrams, the insecurity, even the self-involvement, because if anything that made him real. I still don't quite fully get the Katherine obsession personally... but I got it through Colin's eyes. And here is the thing about Colin that got to me, that really hit home. In the end he wasn't on a quest to become a genius. All he wants is to matter, to be remembered. Isn't that something everyone struggles with? I bet it's crossed everyone's mind that when they're gone--who will remember them? What do they want to be remembered for? What kind of legacy to they want to leave behind? Colin is a bit extreme--he's eighteen and think that he's already washed up--I understood where he was coming from. And John Green nailed Colin's voice. There's nothing better than reading a male POV written by a man.
I loved all of the characters. Except for TOC (The Other Colin) for obvious reasons of douchebaggery. Hassan was hilarious. He was just what Colin needed, and balanced him out perfectly. His laziness and Judge Judy loving Arab-ness (I mean that in a totally non-racist way. Like, he would just start speaking Arabic. I thought that was awesome.) I loved how this journey changed him--how by the end of the book he wants to become a do-er.
And Lindsey. Lindsey Lee Wells. One of my favorite female characters. I liked the fact that she wasn't super pretty, but she wasn't ugly either. Just average, and totally quirky in her own ways. I loved watching Lindsey become herself as the novel progressed. That was another thing that struck me as so true--how people can change themselves in front of certain groups of people, to the point where their identity is practically unrecognizable. That a person can be too busy pretending to be someone they're not to actually find themselves. So, in other words, I loved watching Lindsey figure this out and becoming the person she wants to be.
An Abundance of Katherines is another win in the world of literature. It didn't pack as much of an emotional punch as Looking for Alaska did, but it didn't make me not love it any less. John Green has such a distinctive and wonderful writing style, saying things that truly hit home and make you think, but is also equally hilarious and quirky. Love, love, love.