Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Goodreads description:

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.
On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

There is no doubt that John Green is an amazing writer - almost anyone who has read Looking for Alaska or Paper Towns would agree. What makes him so great, in my opinion, is that he manages to make the reader laugh out loud and cry within a few pages - sometimes even paragraphs. But his second novel, An Abundance of Katherines, has been critiqued several times for not showcasing this talent. Even though I understand where this critique is coming from (the book definitely showed John Green’s distinct sense of humor, but didn’t touch my heart or make me cry like his other novels), I don’t think these reviews do the novel justice. It is, quite simply, a cute and entertaining read, which happens to be extremely well-written.

The characters’ personalities were quirky, distinct, and fun to read about. To me, they are what make this story work, as the plot alone (which I have to admit was pretty predictable) would not have satisfied readers. The way he shows the readers his characters’ personalities is what makes John Green’s writing so special. I especially loved Lindsey and her relationship with Colin. One of my favorite parts of the novel were the cave scenes and the metaphor they provided (Lindsey’s physical hiding-place being the only place she does not have to hide her true personality), which I thought was cleverly crafted.

The novel has been critiqued for not being as serious as Looking for Alaska or Paper Towns, but the summary alone shows the reader that this is supposed to be a light, funny, not completely realistic read. Especially the footnotes and the comments on the math show that the author doesn’t take himself or his book too seriously.

One aspect of the novel I did have a problem with was the point-of-view. I thought the first-person narrator worked very well in the rest of John Green’s writing, while the third-person narrator made this novel lack some of the teenage-authenticity I loved about his other novels (especially Looking for Alaska). However, maybe this sacrifice was necessary to help the author create a certain distance between the protagonist and himself – Colin’s problem of taking himself too seriously wouldn’t have fit John Green’s self-deprecating style of writing.

Even though An Abundance of Katherines is not as emotional or powerful as John Green’s other novels, I’d still recommend it if you’re looking for a quick, funny and entertaining read. If you haven’t read anything by this author yet, though, I’d suggest reading some of his other work first.


  1. I read this a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it! It was my first John Green novel, and his writing is really great. I loved the characters as well! Glad you enjoyed it. :)

  2. I might give this book another try:) I loved Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars but this one just gave me a headache in the beginning with all the figures and stuff.


Please leave a comment - I love to hear what you think!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...