An Abundance of Katherines


John Green published his first book, Looking For Alaska, all the way back in 2005. Since then the book has become an acclaimed young adult novel and has won awards like the Michael L. Print Award from the American Library Association. Since then Green has published 3 more novels including 2 collaboration novels. His own works have received positive acclaim by both adults and teenagers around the world. His works have spread far enough to have been published in more than a dozen different languages. Starting in 2007, John Green and his brother Hank Green began making youtube videos under the channel Vlogbrothers. Through youtube, John Green’s books were made known and he gained a number of followers. An Abundance of Katherines, Green’s second teen novel, follows a teenage boy on a journey dedicated to discovering a great math equation and the art of story-telling. 

Colin Singleton, child prodigy and aspiring genius, has just had his most recent break up with Katherine 19. Colin’s infamous dating career has resulted in him getting dumped and falling into a small depression, but this time is different. Colin’s depression leads to a road trip with his weight-heavy, Muslim best friend, Hassan. On the road Colin aims to finish his universal equation that would determine the fate of any romantic relationship ever. The duo’s adventure lands them in Gutshot, Tennessee, a town dependent on a tampon string factory. Here, Colin and Hassan land a job recording the town’s history by interviewing the inhabitants of Gutshot. It will take a few adventures in Gutshot and quite a bit of sappy moments for Collin to restore himself and come to life changing conclusions. 

John Green experimented writing in the third person point of view, while he wrote  An Abundance of Katherines. On his blog, Green explains that he didn’t think it would make sense for the book to be written in first person if the main protagonist lacked story-telling skills at the beginning in the book. The language style in An Abundance of Katherines mainly focuses on metaphors and foreign phrases, courtesy of Hassan. 

Finding one’s unique identity is one of the main themes in the novel. In the beginning Collin wants to become a genius more than anything else and it literally takes a book for him to discover who he really wants to be. Not only does Collin have a goal for who he wants to become, he has his own reasoning behind it. Collin wants to matter to the world. He is chasing after recognition so that he does not become sort of insignificant to the world. Personally, John Green had a great, constant writing style through out the book.

I had mixed feelings about An Abundance Of Katherines. The book met my expectations in the writing style section. John Green can make characters talk like real teenagers and he gives them common dilemmas that teenagers can relate to. I enjoyed the footnotes full of fun facts and explanations of the crazy math that Collin thinks of. To be brutally honest I was disappointed with this book with how the main protagonist carried himself. Collin was whiny and extremely geeky; although he tried really hard to cover up his awkwardness at times which kind of countered the whole theme of “discovering one’s self”. The plot of the book was sort of random, not in how it was structured but in the way that makes you think “Where did John Green get these ideas from?”. In short, the character development in the book and the strange plot did not appeal to me but I was satisfied by the writing style and overall messages. Unfortunately the book did not exceed any of my expectations. 

An Abundance of Katherines perfectly fits under the Beauty and the Geek category which is one that I don’t often read. The romance is really sappy and cheesy which might appeal to some people. Although the messages were good, the book is not worth reading if you are not into geeky teen romance or random math spasms. People who are suckers for smooth, cheesy pick up lines and teenagers having super deep conversation will definitely enjoy An Abundance of Katherines. I recommend this book to people who enjoy John Green’s other works because it does have a few comedic moments and has that teenage love story some people might relate to.Other than that you should only read it if you can put up with the amount of eye rolling you will be doing every time Collin mentions his love of Katherines. 

Title: An Abundance of Katherines

Author:John Green

Pub date: Sept 1, 2006

Page count: 256p

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult