An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

abundanceLindsey Lee Wells reached down and grabbed the notebook from Hassan. She read it slowly. Finally, she said, “What the hell is K-19?” Colin put a hand down in the caked-dry earth and pushed himself up. “The what’s a who,” he answered. “Katherine XIX. I’ve dated nineteen girls named Katherine.” Lindsey Lee Wells and Colin stared at each other dead in the eye for a very long time, until finally her smile collapsed into a gentle laugh, “What?” Colin asked……”it’s nothing. Just–I’ve only dated one boy.” “Why’s that funny?” Colin asked. “It’s funny,” she explained, “because his name is Colin.” ~pp. 43-44

Though The Fault In Our Stars will permanently be on my list of favorite books, I’ve had mixed feelings about John Green books before (especially Paper Towns, which I hear they’re now making into a movie). But An Abundance of Katherines was amazing–just amazing. A joy to read from start to finish. It’s definitely classic John Green–smart, witty writing, pristine word choice, quirky, loveable, though sometimes spoiled and self-centered characters. I can definitely see echoes of Colin (the main character in Abundance) in Augustus Waters’ (of Fault In Our Stars) desperate desire to do something important, to matter to the world and universe. But let’s face it, this is something nearly all of John Green’s protagonists have dealt with on some level even since Looking for Alaska. I liked Colin, Hassan, Lindsey Lee Wells, and the town of Gutshot, Tennessee. I LOVED the anagramming, the word play, the multiple languages (Arabic, French, German, etc.) that Colin speaks with different characters. I wanted to live with them, inside the book, and to see the full story of Colin’s nineteen Katherines. If John Green is successful in nothing else, he is at least successful in drawing you into his story and making you want to stay there and NOT ending it with a grace and style all his own. That’s ridiculous though–he’s successful in many things. Craft elements, structure, humor, etc. This is a book about a summer road trip and therefore is the perfect book for someone longing to go on a road trip, but unable to (as I am this summer).

Also, just a note: In this book there are footnotes and there is math (Colin is a prodigy, after all). I happen to love footnotes and hate math. But I enjoyed both equally in this book.

What’s up next: I will be re-reading the first two books in the Chronicle of Faerie by O.R. Melling and FINALLY reading the third. I fell out of reading them when I got to college (the third and fourth were published after I graduated). However, this book series was incredibly important to me–I learned a little Gaelic, some of the geography of Ireland, and a lot about Celtic history and mythology from these books. My family is Irish, so these books really helped me connect with my ancestral roots….and fueled my desire to see Ireland–which I’m hoping to see a year from now, May 2016!!!!!!

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