Tuesday, May 13, 2008

an abundance of katherines by john green

This book was recommended to me since I loved Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie. However, I didn't find it half as enjoyable.

The premise of the novel is that Colin - a prodigy of languages and anagrams - just got dumped by Katherine 19 - as in the nineteenth Katherine that he's dated. He's devastated and ends up on a road trip with his best friend Hassan. Soon they end up in a small town named Gutshot, hired by a woman named Hollis to interview everyone in town for an oral history. Hollis' daughter Lindsey is recruited to show the boys around, quickly becoming their friend. In the time that Colin isn't interviewing people, he's developing a theorem to explain why he's been dumped nineteen times by women named Katherine. Soon, with numbers and graphs, he's on his way to being considered a genius.

Overall, the novel wasn't terrible. It had a relatively average plot - boy with broken heart seeks solace in a small town where he throws himself in work only to meet a new girl and live happily ever after once he forgets his old flame. For me, though, the main character got in the way of it being an enjoyable book. Colin is a unique character, but, at the same time, he's too unique. What I enjoyed about Sleeping Freshmen was how realistic the main character was. I could relate to him. I can't relate to Colin because I've never been a prodigy nor have I ever met one. Also, for being an almost genius, he's pretty stupid to keep dating Katherines when he had yet to find success without them. Isn't the joke or definition of an idiot someone who does the same thing over and over again expecting different results? Colin just seemed stupid to me - book smart, but worldly dumb. What was interesting about this book, though, was that the author included footnotes with bits of information pertaining to items presented in the story. Some were interesting, some were funny, but after a while they felt like most footnotes - something to be overlooked. This novel also includes an appendix. The need for an appendix is to explain Colin's theory (another point I found tedious). Luckily the author's note mentioned the appendix was optional reading because I wasn't interested in the mathematical explanation. I skimmed a bit and it looked like it might be enjoyable, but I didn't feel like math when I was reading literature. To me the two don't/shouldn't mix.

This book wasn't terrible. Like I said, it had a decent plot. I think my disappointment comes from thinking that it'd be like Sleeping Freshmen - it's not. Both main characters are quirky, but one just came off as more realistic. For another review see April 07.

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