Why I read
After reading Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, it was safe to say I am in love with John Green’s writing. The stories he creates with his characters is incredible, and there’s just a charm to all of his books which makes me love them so much. I had a case of Nerdfighteritis, and I wanted to give another John Green novel a try. After all, I enjoyed Looking for Alaska and TFioS so much there was no possible way that I could not like another one of his novels, right? Actually, this proves to be very, very wrong. Maybe if I didn’t have a basis to compare John Green’s novels to, I would’ve enjoyed this book so much more. I couldn’t help it! And I hated myself for that, but when you raised the bar so high with those two books I was helpless to contrasting it to his other works.
Summary Everyone has the type of person they want to be with. For some, it’s physical looks; for child prodigy Colin, it’s more of a linguistic thing. In fact, Colin is into girls named Katherine. And when it comes to Katherines, Colin is always on the dumpee side of the spectrum--dumped 19 times, to be exact. And this summer, it’s going to be different. He’s on a road trip with his best friend with only ten dollars in his pocket to aid him. In a summer of hits and misses, Colin’s been working on his theorem which may just be able to prove the predictability of relationships everywhere, and maybe, just maybe, find him the right girl.
Author: John Green
Publication Date: October 2008
Pages: 272 pages
Source? Barnes & Nobles
It was a good book-- just that. A good book.
With it being a John Green novel, it was a little subpar, and I was expecting a little more. The thing is with John Green novels, it’s never really about the plot. It’s about the characters and how they grow to their own self-revelations and confronting the future and where it’ll take you. Almost like TFioS, Abundance tackles the subject of mattering and finding significance in your place in this world. It had me curious and questioning (mainly: “how the hell to figure out the answer to Colin’s fugging long theorem?”)
The characters were likable enough, and the characters themselves were probably the most interesting part of the book and kept me reading. But when you scrape away at the shell of eccentrics from Abundance… you’re not left with much to chew. With this, you realize, there wasn’t much happening—AT ALL.
Colin Singleton, first and foremost, was a really annoying main character. The fact that he went out with 19 Katherines was friggin mind blowing to me, but that wasn’t it. Colin is a child prodigy with an uncanny amount of intelligence. I actually liked the little fun facts given throughout the book in the footnotes or by Colin, but maybe this is because I am a fun fact nerd, not to say everyone will enjoy them as much as I did. I just found Colin to be on the tad bit of the selfish side, and his over self-interest to what people think of him and wanting to be liked is as genuine and candid as much as he is a smartass. With there being math playing a role in it, Abundance feels technical and nominal—and this can really draw out its tediousness. Ultimately, it became boring. I was BORED.
Not letting this discourage, there are some really fun characters squeezed in there too. Say, Hassan. John Green’s humor and wittiness was present for Hassan’s development, and I found myself giggling sometimes because I think he was really amusing. Okay, so… Hassan might not be a genius, he’s lazy and lacks a whole lot of ambition, but his funniness is what makes up for his apathy throughout the book. This passiveness Hassan has is perhaps what I disliked about him most but—contrasting him with Colin is a definitely good mix, and while the whole idea of the characters isn’t exactly new, John brings a certain freshness to them.
And John Green’s unique voice and style is clearly present in Abundance, but whether or not the charm is there consistently—let’s just say it’s questionable. When I got to the end, I couldn’t believe it was The End, because I wish there was more to it, like more of a beginning, a middle, and an, I don’t know, not an anticlimactic ending.
So, do I recommend it? Not really. This book just didn’t do it for me, and it’s not because it was a John Green novel and I had high hopes. Like all Green books, it’s well written, funny characters, and has its charm here and there, and brings a unique setting. I was bored by this one though. If you’re looking to start getting into John’s novels, I wouldn’t start with reading An Abundance of Katherines because this alone doesn’t reflect on his other amazing books. It was good and it had its moments and might appease some readers, but it falls a little flat.
Letter grade? C-/D+ range. Thumbs down from me! :(