I picked up John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines with the intention of reading it along with a non-fiction book during the month of January. I am a voracious reader so I figured two new books would be a piece of cake. That was slightly derailed when my non-fiction book was a bit bawdier than I had intended for light lunch-time-at-the-office reading. I switched Tyler Oakley’s Binge from work reading with my bath tub reading from John Green. An Abundance of Katherines looked like an interesting read and I’ve heard great things about the author, his writing style, and his stories. I probably should have figured that was the safer at work option in the first place.
Work has been insanely busy for the last couple months though so I’ve spent a great majority of my lunches working while eating to try to keep up. This January reading became February reading and then March reading. I finally finished it though.
The book is about broken-hearted Colin and his best friend Hassan going on a road trip to mend Colin’s heart where they end up in a dusty little town in the middle of nowhere, Tennessee. They befriend a girl, Lindsey, who turns out to be the daughter of the town’s matriarch/benefactor. Lindsey’s mother lets the boys stay with them in exchange for a special job.
The boys, one whiney-smart-guy and one relgious-funny-guy, get into shenanigans involving rabid boars, fist fights, and pretty girls pretty much as soon as they settle in.
Colin pines away for his ex and works feverishly to produce a mathematical solution to predict when his next Katherine will break his heart again. His goal is to have a “eureka” moment to push himself from child prodigy to genius, his life’s ambition. Hassan tries to break out of his religious box by dating the gorgeous Katrina (not one of Colin’s Katherines). As I said, shenanigans ensue.
By the end, everyone has their own “eureka” moment about life while solving a mystery in town involving Lindsey’s oddly-behaving mother.
And then it ends.
I have to say John Green is not over-hyped like I expected. I loved his characterizations. Hassan was my favorite character. This book came out in 2006 so I imagine this chubby Muslim character wasn’t as polarizing as he would be if this book came out now in 2017 amid the brewing anti-Muslim sentiment here in the US. Hassan is the funny-sidekick with an odd pick-and-choose adherence to Islamic traditions that is more fitting to many Christians but he is also the one that tosses around a lot of reality checks that Colin needs to hear.
I also really liked Green’s writing style in this particular novel. I have a weird obsession with footnotes so this was great for me. There are tons of footnotes in this novel. His pacing is a bit slow in places but it worked for the story so I have no complaints there. I only really dislike how he ended the novel to be honest. It wasn’t some horrible tragedy. It just… stopped. We get to a cool ahah! moment with the mystery surrounding Lindsey’s mom and then the dang story ends without any kind of resolution. I thought I still had 40 to 50 pages of exposition but nope. The last pages are an appendix, an acknowledgement page, an interview, and an excerpt from another of Green’s books. I was unamused to say the least. 😡
While this was an good read, I am not going to urge anyone to go out and get yourself a copy of An Abundance of Katherines right this moment. If you find it at the library or on a reduced price rack, sure, pick it up. But don’t say I didn’t warn you about the ending being abrupt.