Customer Reviews: An Abundance of Katherines
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Showing 1-10 of 52 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on March 4, 2014
I borrowed this book twice from the library, but while I typically enjoy the 'simple yet real' plots, wit and sarcasm of John Green's books on LIFE, this particular one did not hold my interest. In hindsight, I believe I did not connect with any of the characters, and I found their conversation and quirks uninteresting. I had to make the painful decision of not finishing it (@ the 35-40% mark). This is a rare moment for me, given that I am a dedicated believer of "closing the books".

For closure purposes, I read the Wikipedia summary, and am able to live with the fact that I did not miss anything huge - and that the overall emphasis of the book is that connected relationships are essential to peace and happiness.

Some readers will connect with this book... and there are the few that won't. I am among the few outliers.
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on October 10, 2013
I love to read. And I have this issue with not finishing books. In my life, I think there have been 5 books that I've started and never finished. I think this might end up being number 6.

The main character, Colin, has a type - as many people do. However, his "type" is literary - that is to say, his "type" is girls named Katherine. By the start of the story, he has been dumped by 19 Katherines. He says in a couple of places that they dumped him because they just didn't like him. I can understand; I don't like him either. He's whiny, insecure, and self-absorbed. He's obsessed with "mattering" to the point that he ignores people and doesn't actually live his life. He seems to desperately want to matter, but has NO confidence with which to make an impression on anyone - constantly asking his girlfriend (or ex, as the case may be) if she still loves him, and insisting that she doesn't understand him, for instance. Annoying.

Which is a stark contrast to the other characters in the book. Such as Hassan, who has no ambition and seems content to live with his parents forever, never go to college, and let his rich dad pay for his life. And Lindsey, for another example, who refuses to leave Gutshot, TN and do something with her life for fear of something bad happening. While both of these people at least cultivate relationships while they're content to do nothing.

So Colin gets dumped by Katherine the 19th, and his friend Hassan takes him on a road trip. They end up in Gutshot, TN, which is apparently the middle of nowhere where nothing ever happens - a great setting choice for a novel - and they decide to stay there (Again, a wonderful plot decision). At 18 or 19 or whatever age Colin is, he's all freaked out that he's past his prime (since he was a child prodigy) and has missed his chance to matter. So he's working on this one last-ditch-attempt at mattering, which is to figure out a way to graphically/mathematically predict the course of a relationship. While the math was kept relatively light, I did find myself skipping over a couple of paragraphs. Because... well... it's been a long time since my last math class and to be honest, I didn't follow it. To Green's credit, he saves detailed analysis of the math for an appendix entry rather than bogging down the novel with it further. But in a book that I'm already struggling to read, and already disliking every character that's introduced, the addition of math and repetitive anagramming really just isn't helping - and I'm not a math or anagram hater; I loved my math classes in school, it's just been a while, and I love word puzzles.

I'm clearly in the minority with my opinion on this book, given the other reviews, but I'm really bummed out about this book. All of it together (boring setting, slow plot, annoying characters, math, anagrams, more annoying characters)... I just can't get into it.. The thing that gets me is that I've read several of John Green's books. He knows how to hold his reader's attention, create intrigue and even write annoying yet likable characters. He knows how to write entertaining road-trips (like in Paper Towns). He knows how to create a beginning that sucks you into the story, and how to write a plot that moves and entertains. But I'm not seeing that here. I'm grateful this wasn't my first Green or I might not have read more.

I'm sure that the story gets to a point where there's a moral and maybe the main character learns to be content and connect with others and whatnot. And maybe even some other cool stuff. But I just can't find anything redeemable enough to hold on to to propel me through the rest of it, and I don't like the characters enough to spend hours with them in order to see them grow.

Personally, I'd skip this one and pick up another John Green instead.
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on September 11, 2014
Saying John Green is a great writer is to say that Taco Bell serves great Mexican food. We understand that the quality of the food may be sub par, but still for many it can provide a satisfying eating experience. I understand that Green is the most popular teen novelist around right now and that many people adore his books, however the only resemblance to Taco Bell this book has is the after effects and the horrible smells that come from one's bathroom after digesting it. Likewise, after reading this so called novel, it would be a normal reaction for one to be disgusted and send this piece of doodoo where it belongs, flushed down the toilet.

To start out we have a child prodigy named Colin who obviously is very intelligent (any reader of Green novels will notice all of his protagonists and other characters we are supposed to root for are always smarter than all the other characters and somehow deeper). His best friend, following this theme, is also extremely intelligent. The "witty" banter between these two is unfunny at best, completely unrealistic when worst. It simply does not sound like teenagers, or anybody for that reason, talking to one another. Staying with how unrealistic the characters are did i mention the fact that our main character has dated 18 girls all named Katherine? He won't date Catherine spelled with a 'C' because, well who the hell knows. Either way, this fact is made all the more ridiculous because of his social ineptitude especially when it comes to talking to girls. His lack of skills with women is a theme explored in the book and if the fact that he has met 18 girls named Katherine in the first place isn't unbelievable enough to the reader, the fact that this boy could have dated all of them surely is.

But an unbelievable foundation for the book isn't necessarily the end of the world, though it is when Green writes his characters and plot in such a way it is hard to not actively despise the novel itself and the author for subjecting the world to its banality. The main character here is smarter than you and he knows it. Aren't those the kind of people we all just love to hang out with? One would assume that he would learn his lesson and be humbled by it, but nope! Nothing happens in this sense, and it is almost as if Green intended this smug superiority to be somehow respected or liked by the reader. It is truly baffling, but there is no other logic I could fathom to justify the way this theme is presented here. And since this is a John Green novel and the self-indulgent intelligent ones reign supreme (a hint of the author's personality shown here) we also get to see the dumb kids. It would be extremely difficult for Green to portray our two non intelligent characters as any more routine and lifeless. What we get is a jock that is good looking, muscular, and as Green seems to imply, if one is any of these things they are in turn brainless. The other is a beautiful girl who you guessed it has absolutely no brain, and who would've guessed it, they hook up and cheat on one another's partner, because ,as is made clear by Green, the beautiful will sleep around and use their bodies because they lack any real intrinsic depth. Now it is rare to meet people that are truly stupid in life, everyone has their merits and strengths, but Green seems to portray intelligence as the supreme quality a human being can have, while making beauty and strength seem superficial and meaningless. And while we could always use the reminder that beauty is more import inwardly, any responsible adult that is writing a novel for children should acknowledge that every individual has his strengths and weaknesses, and not show our more pleasant physical qualities to be purely for show and lack all substance (quite like Green's writing). Not all pretty girls are dumb and not all athletic guys are idiots. This seems obvious, but apparently not to Mr. Green who seems to either be pandering to his likely audience, those teens that are social outcasts and hate the 'popular kids', or to be justifying his own lack of self worth he felt as a teen, or possibly still does, by showing that a strong intellect is ultimately all that matters in the world.

There really is nothing likable about the book and it is one of life's great mysteries how someone could enjoy it. The characters, the themes, the plot are all so tremendously unlikable that it truly deserves the spot on anyone who suffers through the read's list of worst books of all time, and this is without mentioning the skill of Green's writing which simply leaves much to be desired.

I finish my rant with the begging whoever reads this to pick up the book and read the final two chapters. the formulaic nonsense meant to be suspenseful and surprising is so tremendously poor it is quite the marvel. The cheesy one liners, the sentimentality, the pointlessness of every word Green offers you is sure to stick with the reader long after they read it, wondering how the hell has this book gotten any sort of earthly praise.
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on September 11, 2014
A strange plot, not very likable characters, and many, long, boring passages. Maybe this was supposed to be a complete fable, or a metaphor for something deep. Well, if it was, I completely missed it. Colin is a child prodigy who has been dumped by 19 girlfriends, all named Katherine. Now I knew that coming into the book and shame on me for not casting it aside right then and there but I'm a sucker for road trip stories and this one started out that way.....but not for long. Colin and buddy Hassan wind up in Gutshot, Tennessee, where Colin meets a charming young miss and her rube boyfriend, also Colin. No, the girl's name is not Katherine. Then not much happens for 150 pages or so. Thankfully, this is a very slim book and after another 50 pages give or take, it ends with not much of a climax. Not cute, not charming, not interesting.
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on July 23, 2014
Like many, I read (and fell in love with) TFIOS and was curious about the other works of John Green. I have read and loved Looking For Alaska and Paper Towns, but this one didn't do it for me. First of all its written in the third person, which singles this one out of the four. I don't have a problem with that, it just makes it different. But the main character Colin? He is the most uninteresting person I've heard of, fictional or in real life. Only dates Katherines because he can't get over a two minute relationship he had with one when he was young. Which is so stupid. There is nothing to justify that. He is very two dimensional, rude to the only friend he has, he just isn't a very likable character. I'm glad to see him grow in the end when-SPOILER- he starts to date Lindsey. But that just isn't enough to make me like him, cause in the end he is still comes off as an ass, still is only concerned with his theorem and whether or not it works with a Katherine or a Lindsey. Maybe that was the point, but I don't know. And the whole riding of into the sunset thing? I don't particularly like it either.
Bottom line, the story itself was okay, it didn't really captivate me as a reader, and I didn't like Colin as a person, character or otherwise. If you like John Green because of TFIOS and you want to read something else, either choose Paper Towns or Looking For Alaska. Both of which were significantly better than this one.
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on February 7, 2015
I can not find anything good about this book. I read this book because I wanted to read all of the John Green books. They are all the same. There is a boy who likes a girl, but he is to pathetic or different or unaware to have her as a girlfriend. Throughout the book the boy gets very philosophical through trying to figure out the mindset of the girl. I find An Abundance of Katherines slow and uninteresting to read. Although the philosophical aspects of the book are interesting, I do not find it worth it to read it.
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on August 7, 2014
If I could give it a zero I would. This has got to be the most about nothing book that I ever tried to read. The beginning is what got me interested I can not tell you what a let down it was to continue finally I decided life was too short to spend on such horrible self absorb character
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on July 27, 2014
I guess I read one too many books by John Green. this is yet another coming of age book
I read halfway through it and the word that comes to mind is tiresome. grow up John, there more to the world then teenage boys adventure and sex
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on November 21, 2013
Very dull book. Couldn't get through it. So disappointing since "The Fault in Our Stars" and "Paper Towns" are both amazing. This one seemed to have no plot. Wouldn't recommend it.
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on August 20, 2016
I absolutely LOVED The Fault in Our Stars... I read it in one sitting and may even go as far as to say it's one of my favorites. So, naturally, I wanted to try something else from this author. What. A. Mistake. I have never in my life not finished a book; I am much too Type A of a bookworm to not finish a book. But I've had this novel for close to a year and I still can't make myself finish it. It just continues to sit on my kindle, ignored. I really can't even think of anything good to say about it. I found it to be completely boring. The main character is not at all interesting nor is anyone else in the novel. Extremely disappointed. How can someone who writes something like The Fault in Our Stars also write garbage like this?
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