Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Published: September 21st 2006
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart
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.
On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.
I wanted to like this so badly–and I’m also sensing a pattern with Green’s works for me. I find them so pretentious and almost antagonistic in the way that they present the overly smart male protagonist and the whimsical, mysterious female that he undoubtedly falls in love with. Maybe because the narrative voice in TFioS is female, and I identify a little bit with the way Hazel presents herself and speaks that I didn’t find it as pretentious as the other books by Green.
My other problem with An Abundance of Katherines, is the pacing. It seems to drag and flip flop between the past and current events. It stretches out so slowly that it was almost a burden to finish. I’m trying really hard not to have any DNF books this year, and already six days in I was really tempted to just put it back in the bag for the library. I slogged through it, finding Colin boorish and just someone that I really didn’t want to read more about. The only slight ray in the dark was Hassan, but even that was drowned out by Green’s incessant reminders that he was Muslim, and throwing around Arabic/Islamic phrases. Please do not get me started on the footnotes, I hate them in text books, and I have absolutely no interest in seeing them in fiction (which is probably one of the reasons why I don’t read high fantasy either).
Overall: I have two more John Green books to read and I’m not certain I’m going to.