Saturday, September 3, 2011

A review of John Green's "An Abundance of Katherines"

A former child prodigy named Colin only dates girls named Katherine, and every time he does, they seem to spurn him. He has dated nineteen of them so far, and is starting to despair after the nineteenth of them rejected him after 6 months of being together. In his dejected self pity, he accompanies his best friend Hassan on a road trip across America, and ends up finding laughs, love, and math in the tiny hamlet of Gutshot, Tennessee. The author of this book, John Green, has made many books along these same lines (an erudite, but highly neurotic Woody Allenesque character with a gratingly snarky best friend obsesses over an equally intelligent/neurotic, but inaccessible girl, and learns valuable life lessons along the way), including Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, and this book, but I chose this one for its happier ending. It was less sad, and awkwardly hormonal than Looking for Alaska, was less existentially postmodern than Paper Towns, and was less disparate in tone than Will Grayson, Will Grayson. It was laugh out loud funny at points, and disenhearteningly sad at others. The main character was so annoying that I wanted to stop reading, but the less irritating side characters lessened my urge to play discus with the book. Over all, quite entertaining and emotionally resonant, even with its flaws, and is my favorite of Green's oeuvre.

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