An Abundance of Katherines-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Rating: 2/5

At the request of a friend, I read and reviewed both Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska by John Green. Both were really great books, so Id decided I would pick up another John Green book. Some of you may see the rating and are thinking, “a 2/5 for  John Green book?” Unfortunately, yes, and here is why:

When I first started this book, it was hard to continue reading and to finish it. The book feels like one long tangent about anagrams, faulty memory, and dating. The plot and character development is rather weak, despite the interesting characteristics given to Colin (genius, anagramming), and Hassan (overweight, Middle-Eastern). While these qualities made the book fall out, it did have its interesting aspects as well. Throughout the novel the reader gets little footnotes for various things assumedly written in by Colin. There are also a number of graphs embedded into the text to demonstrate Colin’s Dumper/Dumpee Theorem, which is the basis for the novel.

So what is this book about? Basically Colin and Hassan graduated high school and don’t feel like going to college, so they go on a road trip for the summer instead. They see a sign featuring the burial grounds for Archduke Ferdinand in Gutshot, Tennessee, an isolated rural town with it’s commerce coming from a factory that makes tampon strings.

All the while, we get glimpses of the 19 Katherine’s that Colin has dated, and how he has been dumped by every Katherine, thus leading into his Dumper/Dumpee Theorem. After coming up with many various calculations based on his Katherine relationships, he was able to conclude how a relationship might turn out based on factors like age and popularity.

While in the town of Gutshot, Colin and Hassan are invited to live with Lindsey Wells, a girl who runs the Archduke tours and gift shop, by her mother, Hollis. Of course this introduces potential relationship material for Colin, but Lindsey has a boyfriend and Colin has only ever dated Katherine’s.

If this were not a John Green novel, I think I would have rated it a 3/5, but because of the composition and quality of work I have seen from him previously, this novel was very disappointing in comparison. So far, I would say this is the only John Green book you probably should NOT read. If there is any value in reading it (since there isn’t really good plot or character development), it would be for the ending is that sometimes we can’t rely on our own memories, we switch our memory around to make a satisfying story.


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