An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

four out of five dragons
four out of five dragons

This post contains affiliate links.

The covers for An Abundance of Katherines are so cool. I love all the color mixed with the white. I’m not a big fan of the cover that has a line of Katherines because it kind of makes it look like they are interchangeable and Colin doesn’t think anything like that, because they are people not dolls.

This is the book where I realized John Green is kind of a surrealist writer. The chances that Colin could have met, let alone dated, 19 Katherines by the age of 18 is pretty low especially when he includes the necessity of it being spelled the same. And if you throw in the fact that he hasn’t dated every Katherine he has met then we are definitely stretching the suspension of disbelief, but oh well.

Green’s characters are always fun and smart and likable even when they do terrible things. If I had to describe his characters I would say they are well-rounded and believably written while still being way cooler than any living person I’ve ever met. By this mean I mean that they are individuals in a way that I don’t see in the real world and maybe that’s because I’m a judgmental jerk, but it’s also partly because people fall into groups and stagnate. People are more awesome in books.

Take for example, Colin, not because he’s a child prodigy, but because he is an anagram-loving, self-educating, road tripper. I want to be a person like that. I think there are only two things I feel passionate enough about to warrant being a Green character: books and my husband. I am becoming more interesting because I decided I can do whatever the heck I want with my life. Maybe that’s what I should call my goal: Becoming as interesting as a John Green character. But until I’m “that cool” I’ll just read about crazy cool characters and love them way too much.

One of those cool characters is Hassan. He should get an award for being the coolest supporting character in a book, just saying. He is quirky bordering toward weird, but in a good way. He makes me envious of high school friendships and I’m a grown a** adult. I need book quality best friends like this.

I think one of the reasons I like this book as much as Paper Towns (people say the two are a lot alike, but that one is better than the other) is because of Colin. I like Paper Towns Quentin, but he is overshadowed by Margo whereas in Katherines we get a fully-fledged quirky human that isn’t mostly obsessed with a girl he barely knows (no offense Margo). On that same note, Colin’s intellect is fascinating and Green manages to not overwhelm us with his brain.

However, on the negative side of the characters I remember the main lady less in this book. Like I literally don’t remember her name off the top of my head which isn’t a great thing. I don’t know if it just that she wasn’t put on a pedestal the way some of the other John Green characters are or if she just wasn’t fleshed out the same way, but either way she became forgettable for me.

I find it hard to skip road trip books especially ones written by authors I enjoy. Road trips and especially literary road trips are the best. The only thing better than reading about a road trip is going on one and I can’t always hop in the car and run away sooo… yay for book road trips.

I really liked this book because I identified with Colin. No, I’m not a prodigy, nowhere near it but when I was in high school tons of people thought I was crazy smart. Yet all I did was decide to go to college and loads of people have done that. I think part of why people viewed me as some sort of uber-brain (with very little real reasons) is because of my brother Matt. He was always saying how smart I was and always saying I was way smarter than him. But my brother is not dumb. There’s a quote by someone (exactly who said it is being argued about all the time) “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” My brother was the fish. I was the monkey excited to be on top of the tree and more than willing to preen about it in my own subdued way. It wasn’t until my second year of college that I realized I’m not as smart as I’d like to be. My brother has way more functional intelligence and was told about his amazing intellect way less. He helped make me the person (and the reader) that I am today. Also, Colin’s struggle with not living up to what everyone viewed as his potential was relatable.

I also liked Colin because he didn’t like Holden Caulfield. Not everyone has to hate Holden, but it’s still nice to read about someone disliking him. For years, he was the be all end all for teenage expression, but my generation mostly missed that. We had The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton (though this was written WELL before I was in high school or you know, born) and then about a billion books after that.

This may not be Green’s best book, but it’s still pretty great. I would recommend it for anyone who loves John Green, coming of age books, and lovable characters. And for anyone who hates Holden Caulfield or at least doesn’t mind him being disparaged.

Follow me on Instagram and Goodreads

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *