Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

5 out of 5 stars.

John Green really hit it out of the ball park with this witty and intelligent book.

Green incorporates an interesting stylistic technique1 in this novel.  As always, Green’s voice is very distinct and witty, and he makes a story about math seem more like a story about humanity and the struggle of coping with the unknown.

It stars Colin, the child prodigy (but not a genius) who has a thing for Katherines.

Seriously. This kid’s dated nineteen Katherines – in a row – and been dumped by every single one.

Although Colin is incredibly smart, he’s kind of dumb when it comes to everything that’s not anagramming2 or languages3.

Especially when it comes to Katherines.

Unfortunately for Colin, he is an extreme dumpee in his “Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability”4.  So when Katherine XIX dumps him, he reacts by going on a road trip with his friend Hassan5.

The duo ends up in the small town Gutshot, Tennessee, where they get jobs producing a documentary for the local textile factory6 owner.

I really enjoyed this book. Green managed to make math seem almost interesting in this tale of a lost boy trying to predict the future. Colin’s escapades make it easy and fun to read, and the reader is consistently amazed by Colin’s intellegence7.

Colin’s character is very relatable, despite the extreme intelligence gap between him and the average reader. Although he’s smart, Colin has yet to grasp simple things, like how in the Tortoise and the Hare it’s not just about a turtle and a rabbit. The reader can sense his struggle, and it’s endearing.

I’d highly recommend this book to any fans of John Green8.

  1. He uses footnotes.  A lot of footnotes.
  2. Mixing the letters in a word or set of words to create a new set of words, i.e. anagram → nag a ram
  3. He knows eleven fluently (Spanish, French, Latin, German, etc.) but he also knows a little Japanese.
  4. The theorem he’s working on to predict how long and whether a relationship will last. Surprisingly, it’s actually legitimate math.
  5. Who is a Sunni Muslim and not a terrorist, as Hassan himself says.
  6. Which happens to make tampon strings. Not that that’s funny or anything. Not at all.
  7. Very, very intelligent. This kid makes Einstein look stupid.
  8. Or anyone else, for that matter.