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An Abundance of Katherines Hardcover – September 21, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–This novel is not as issue-oriented as Greens Looking for Alaska (Dutton, 2005), though it does challenge readers with its nod to postmodern structure. Right after intellectual child-prodigy Colin Singleton graduates from high school, his girlfriend (who, like the 18 young women and girls whom he claimed as girlfriends over the years, is named Katherine) breaks up with him and sends him into a total funk. His best friend, Hassan, determines that he can only be cured with a road trip. After some rather aimless driving, the two find themselves in Gutshot, TN, where locals persuade them to stay. There, Colin spends his spare time working on a mathematical theorem of love, hypothesizing that romantic relationships can be graphed and predicted. The narrative is self-consciously dorky, peppered with anagrams, trivia, and foreign-language bons mots and interrupted by footnotes that explain, translate, and expound upon the text in the form of asides. It is this type of mannered nerdiness that has the potential to both win over and alienate readers. As usual, Greens primary and secondary characters are given descriptive attention and are fully and humorously realized. While enjoyable, witty, and even charming, a book with an appendix that describes how the mathematical functions in the novel can be created and graphed is not for everybody. The readers who do embrace this book, however, will do so wholeheartedly.–Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 9-12. Green follows his Printz-winning Looking for Alaska (2005) with another sharp, intelligent story, this one full of mathematical problems, historical references, word puzzles, and footnotes. Colin Singleton believes he is a washed-up child prodigy. A graduating valedictorian with a talent for creating anagrams, he fears he'll never do anything to classify him as a genius. To make matters worse, he has just been dumped by his most recent girlfriend (all of them have been named Katherine), and he's inconsolable. What better time for a road trip! He and his buddy Hassan load up the gray Olds (Satan's Hearse) and leave Chicago. They make it as far as Gutshot, Tennessee, where they stop to tour the gravesite of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and meet a girl who isn't named Katherine. It's this girl, Lindsey, who helps Colin work on a mathematical theorem to predict the duration of romantic relationships. The laugh-out-loud humor ranges from delightfully sophomoric to subtly intellectual, and the boys' sarcastic repartee will help readers navigate the slower parts of the story, which involve local history interviews. The idea behind the book is that everyone's story counts, and what Colin's contributes to the world, no matter how small it may seem to him, will, indeed, matter. An appendix explaining the complex math is "fantastic," or as the anagrammatically inclined Green might have it, it's enough to make "cats faint." Cindy Dobrez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
An Abundnce of Katherines was one of his earlier books, and after reading his most recent first, it shows. He's grown a lot as a writer. The book reads well, it does pull you in as you hope any book you begin will, but it's also predictable. The predictably is clever, and all things John Green, but I felt like I've read the idea of this story before, only by different authors and maybe not as intelligently written.
Some of that may have to do with the mathematical thereoms that are thrown into the story. Although it made it interesting, it was distracting as I've never been much of a math person.
It was easy to see that in true John Green fashion, he went to great extents in writing this book. He did his homework and enlisted those who had knowledge of things he didn't.
If you're a John Green fan, and if you are reading this I'm sure you are, I would suggest it, but I wouldn't expect it to leave you the way The Fault in Our Stars, Looking For Alaska or Paper Towns did.
It was an okay book, but I felt as if I were reading a bit of a retread.
Still, I pressed on and decided to read next "An Abundance of Katherines." It's a cute premise, in that a gifted young man with no social skills to speak of but a desperate need to be attached, finds that he's dated only girls named Katherine and thinks he's been dumped by every single one of them. Over the summer, in a very cozy situation that just happens to fall into his lap, he decides to create a mathematical algorithm to show how soon two people will split up.
Yes, he decides to math up dating.
Okay, fine. I can deal with the premise, if done well, but, really, this wasn't. Things "just happen" far too often in this book. Events occur because of coincidence an appalling number of times, especially in a book so steeped in coincidence (the many Katherines for one thing) to begin with. While the dialogue was, as always it seems with John Green, witty and snarky and very quick, it seemed the facile nature of the dialogue was merely flash designed to cover a deeper weakness with the inevitability of the plot.
As long as you're not too demanding, it's a good read. Just enjoy the dialogue and the quirky personalities and forget about why they're doing what they're doing. It'll only make your head hurt.
Colin just graduated high school as a washed-up child prodigy, and for the 19th time, he was dumped by another Katherine. Colin Singleton has a quirky love for girls named Katherine and anagrams. Colin and his best friend, Hassan, embark on the road trip of all road trips.
As far as the both of them knew, this would be their last summer together, so they want to make the best of it. When they reach Gunshot, Tennesee, Colin and Hassan decide to take a tour of the gravesite of archduke Franz Ferdinand. It's not a Katherine he meets there, it's a girl named Lindsay. And When Colin told Lindsay about his theorem, about the duration of relationships, she was interested in helping her new friend find the answer. The book is sophisticated, quirky, and very humorous. The journey Colin takes to find out one simple theorem gives him an adventurous summer, where he learns the truth about himself.
My personal reaction to this book was a great aspiration to have an adventure suc as Colin and Hassan's. I admired their funny personalities and how they are such great friends. I thought it was a genius approach to involve an actual mathematical formula. That in fact (I checked) is correct for Colin Singleton's situations.
I strongly suggest you read this book, it will give a new meaming of math. John green is an excellent writer, and you will love all of his pieces. Especially, An Abundance of Katherine.