Two funny things about the book An Abundance of Katherines by John Green: 1) We have an abundance of A Katherine in our house with the youngest daughter, who is abundantly Katherine-like at all times, and 2) this is not the cover of the book I read (but I think I might like it better). This is my second John Green novel in a row, and I think my reading of it suffered a bit because of that. Don't get me wrong; I loved this book and I think John Green is ~abundantly~ smart and humorous. But when you read two books about road trips back to back, you start to wonder why the author chose the same device for both books (which I believe were also written back-to-back, but I might be wrong about that). Still and all, this book is laugh out loud funny, poignant, and ass-kicking from the word go. If I just couldn't wrap my mind around a guy (only a senior in high school) having dated 19 girls all named Katherine (I'm sorry, but as the parent of a Katherine, I have to say there really aren't all that many around, and even if you count the minute encounters of smart kid camp, it just *isn't* possible), I still liked the concept and loved the characters. The fight scene might be one of the best actual fight scenes ever written, especially with Muslim but not religious Hassan yelling "Three on one!" and going back in. Genius. Makes me wonder if John Green wasn't a child prodigy himself.
Below is my amazon review, which is much longer and probably a bit more intellectually written...or then again, maybe not. Hope you enjoy it.
I'm now off to really immerse myself in the 1100s and my personal heroine, Eleanor of Aquitaine (don't tell anyone, but in my mind I've named my car Eleanor after said heroine...that woman was phenomenal and packed more living into her 82 years than most of us could in 182).
Picking up a book by John Green is a guaranteed treat; you know you are going to become friends with a host of teens who will make you laugh, make you think, and make you recognize yourself in them. An Abundance of Katherines is no exception, and it's a fun ride from the first pages.
Colin Singleton is a child prodigy who wants to make his mark in the world and prove that he really is the genius everyone's expected him to be. To that end, he's working on a Theorem that will predict how relationships will go, and he has the experience to draw from: Colin has dated 19 girls, all of them have dumped him, and all of them have been named Katherine. So when Katherine #19 dumps him, Colin's best friend Hassan talks him into a road trip designed to clear Colin's head so he can focus. What they actually find, however, is Gutstop, Tennessee, and a girl named Lindsey who is perfectly happy to remain there for the rest of her life. After striking up a friendship with Lindsey, her mother invites the boys to stay in Gutshot and work for her for the summer. What follows is a series of interviews, hornets, new girlfriends, a fight, and a secret hiding place as the boys learn more about themselves than they'd figured they ever would.
Green is a terrific author who knows just how to enliven a story with humor and then bring it back to the original concept subtly. I loved that Green didn't make all the Tennesseans seem like simple-minded hicks (being from Tennessee, this is a particular irritation of mine). Green is obviously a very smart man, and I loved the footnotes that explained the languages used and gave fascinating details about the conversations. My ability to imagine one boy falling for nineteen Katherines was sorely stretched, though; it was the one point of the book that kept sticking me and pulling me out of the story. But other than that, I laughed and enjoyed this book tremendously, and I would give it a solid 4.5 stars. Recommended for readers of all ages who love a good road trip tale.