Friday, January 28, 2011

Read Lately: An Abundance Of Katherines by John Green

  • My wife and I are in the middle of packing for our anticipated move. We started with the books because the task dwarfs every other. We are still working on that. One of the stacks I did pack was my To Be Read pile. As I did so, one of the books caught my eye, like I forgot it was there. So I pulled it from the box and decided to read it next.

  • My wife thought I would like An Abundance Of Katherines by John Green, which is how it found its way to my pile. At the start of the book, Colin Singleton, a seventeen year old child prodigy, has been dumped by the nineteenth consecutive girl he has dated named Katherine. To get him out of his funk, his best friend Hassan suggests a summer road trip. Together they end up in the town of Gutshot, Tennessee where they meet new people, get to know themselves better, discover that the future isn't as bad as they suspected.

  • After seeing John Green at the LA Times Festival of Books, I was interested to see what he wrote. However, I was initially hesitant about this book. First, describing Colin as a boy who has dated nineteen girls named Katherine makes him sound like a freak. (He's not really. There's an explanation and everything.) Second, my wife thought I would like it because of the math. (Don't worry, it's story math. You don't really need to know it for the book to work.) But I'm glad I picked it up anyway because it was a well-written book.

  • John Green's greatest strength in the novel is how well he crafts believable, if quirky, characters. Colin in questioning himself, trying to figure out how to leave a mark on the world, and mourning his failed relationship. Hassan is avoiding all thought of responsibility while enjoying his time in the world. Hollis and Lindsay, a mother and daughter they meet in Gutshot, are dealing with their own issues, which I will fail to disclose in the interest of not spoiling the book. But all of their troubles are very human and they deal with them with humor, determination, and not a little pain.

  • I really enjoyed An Abundance Of Katherines and I would like to read more by John Green. His book was very readable and very authentic. As a matter of fact, I think there is another book on the shelf that I might have to pick up.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. Sounds like a fun read. I did a search on this book on amazon and it looks really bizarre. I can see what you mean about the math though, based on the cover of the edition I saw.

    Any thoughts about joining goodreads, btw? I like it because I can get recommendations from friends as well as see reviews of the books they read, but also because as an avid reader I find it helpful in tracking my books, my progress and the date I finish reading them, as well as my own thoughts and comments/reviews.

  2. @ MMOGC - Luckily the cover for my copy wasn't quite so scary. Or maybe it was scary in a different way.

    Haven't thought too much about Goodreads. I can barely keep my blog up to date, much less some other site. However my wife uses it to post her book reviews. And she reviews a lot of books.

  3. I figure you post book reviews on your blog every now and then anyway, you can always paste it to GR. That's how I got myself started, heh.

    This is the cover I saw:

    You're right, not as creepy as the one you linked, which makes me thankful for being an ebook reader so I am spared covers I don't want to look at. Brings to mind the Stepford Wives for some reason, and it almost looks like a poster to a movie.