Sunday, 5 December 2010

Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Dear Blog,

Summary (from Goodreads): 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 washed up 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.

Review: You may or may not know if you've been reading my blog for a while that I am a total fangirl of John Green's works after I read Looking for Alaska last summer.    Paper Towns followed quickly after and now, alas, the only of his works I have left to read for time being are his collaborate novel with David Leviathan, Will Grayson, Will Grayson.  Anyway, so no doubt I shall spend a lot of time in this review comparing it to his other works, and I'll probably repeat myself once or twice.
Anyway.  So I had pretty high expectations for An Abundance of Katherines and, most of the time, it didn't disappoint.

Maybe it's just me, but you can't help but speculate slightly at this formula: a protagonist with some strange personality quirk, a highly amusing sidekick, a strong love interest, and a lack of parental authority.  So there wasn't really much new, but it's physically impossible to not enjoy anything by John Green.  He is, along with Sarah Dessen, one of my few favourite contemporary authors.  It doesn't matter, at least to my mind, if you can start to predict what's going to happen.

A lot of An Abundance revolves around mathematics.  I should probably mention that all of this was totally lost on me because my knowledge of maths is totally appalling and I probably have the same mathematical knowledge as an eleven-year-old.  All the discussion and examples of the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability went over my head.  I did read the appendix at the end, by the way, but I just ended up saying to myself, "So, he's written a formula...which will tell him how long a relationship will this line here is supposed to represent" Maybe it was just me being mathematically challenged, maybe not.  Maybe there were just too many numbers.

That said.  Despite all that, like Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines is full of small, quirky facts that you wouldn't have known otherwise.  Read John Green books and you'll become one of those interesting intellectuals who can surprise their friends with things that none of them know.  Become cultured and exciting and intriguing and have people look up to you (or else just think that you're slightly bizarre). 

Colin was a nice enough protagonist.  He wasn't quite as humorous as Q and he didn't have so much to learn, I suppose, as Miles.  And his incessant whining did get on my nerves considerably a little at the start.  And for all his three dimensions, he seemed almost overly dependent on having a Katherine constantly at his side- though Lindsey Lee Wells was a welcome surprise, she was still amorous material.  That doesn't mean I disliked her.  Nay, I thought she was actually pretty awesome, and if there's any romantic material in a novel I like it to be sort of like her; Clever. Witty. Sassy.

The writing style is, strangely, told in the third person, which was a nice change.  And I think that's what actually set Colin apart from Q and Miles.  In not narrating the whole story, it made his dialogue and his thoughts seem even more...original, I guess you could put it.  If that makes any sense. 

So.  Hmm. Is it a good book?  Yes, definitely, compared to a lot of the novels in the vast expanse of YA lit.  But is it as great as I was expecting?  Hmm, not sure. When novelists are so fantastic I think it's hard for their second and third novels to live up to expectations. 

In Three Words: not quite Alaska.
Recommended for: John Green fans.  Despite a few flaws it's worth it.
Rating: 4. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice review :) Here's mine: Have a nice day!


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