An Abundance of John Green

Of my three library picks, the first book that I chose to read was An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. The concept was intriguingly quirky, and I had a hankering for some young adult fiction.

Colin Singleton is a highly intelligent — and highly neurotic — high school graduate, who has managed to only date girls named Katherine. From a one-hour elementary school fling to the most recent girl to break his heart, they are Katherines all. Perhaps even more significantly, they have all dumped him. In search of an answer to his Katherine conundrum, Colin decides to write a theorem that predicts the outcome of his relationships. He sets off on a road trip with his snarky best friend, and as you might imagine, colorful characters and personal growth ensue.

The only difficult part about this book is the premise itself. You have to accept that one guy could find nineteen women with the same name and have some sort of romance with all of them. Accepting the premise is well worth it though because the story itself is a lot of fun. There was plenty of humor to be found in Colin’s overly intellectual approach to romance. I mean, only an emotional dunce would try to convert his relationships into a mathematical formula. As someone who has known her fair share intellectually mature but emotionally stunted people, this was a character type that I could appreciate.

John Green found creative ways to express Colin’s neurotic tendencies. He used footnotes to relay extra information and provide mathematical explanations for the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability. This technique mirrors the way that Colin can’t resist inserting random trivia into his conversations. As English professors love to remind us, form is content! One of the coolest things about writing, I think, is that the story can be expressed not just through words, but through how the words are presented.

Now that I’ve read one John Green novel, I would love to check out the others. When my friend Jenny was recommending him to me, she had some reservations about whether An Abundance of Katherines would be the best starting point. As it turned out, it was the only one of his books at the library branch that I visited. So there you go! It certainly left me wanting more. Hopefully Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns will be in my future.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “An Abundance of John Green

  1. LJS

    “As someone who has known her fair share intellectually mature but emotionally stunted people, this was a character type that I could appreciate.” Love this! I find that an unrealistic premise of a book is pretty easy to get past if a great story is told. I also loved, “One of the coolest things about writing, I think, is that the story can be expressed not just through words, but through how the words are presented.” I often find myself liking an author’s style almost as much their content. I appreciate that feeling you get when you read a new book from an author you like, and get that familiar style out of the text that is unique to that individual.

  2. Pingback: Best of 2011: Book Edition | Courtney Coherent

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