Having been recently dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, recent high school graduate and former child prodigy Colin sets off on a road trip with his best friend to try to find some new direction in life while also trying to create a mathematical formula to explain his relationships.
I really liked Colin Singleton, and his best friend Hassan. I got nervous when they went on a road trip because "Oh shit, that's what my book is about, and this one sounds all funny and quirky and whatever else," but their trip was so short it didn't really count.
Green does a nice job with characterization, and even though the dialogue sounded...um, not exactly forced but sometimes like he was trying awful hard to be clever and to keep that trendy YA voice, I genuinely found the main characters and their struggles interesting. I liked the Theory of Katherine Predictability (and yes, I read the appendix to see how it mathematically worked out) and the footnotes, and I like the way the book sort of comes around full circle in the end, to another road trip. Of course it's completely predictable the entire time that he's going to end up with the girl whose name is not Katherine, but it's all right, really, because she's pretty cool. And of course, the book implies that telling stories is the real way to matter in the world, and I'll all for that idea!
I knew from his blog that John Green was a funny person and it comes through in his writing as well. What I especially liked about John Green's An Abundance of Katherines is that it was smart and funny. It was also an endearing story, one about two friends who have just graduated from high school: Colin Singleton, the prodigy with a penchant for anagrams, whose heart has been broken for the nineteenth time by the nineteenth Katherine, and Hassan, his always joking best friend who doesn't want to go to college despite the pressures from his family. Hassan suggests a road trip is in order that summer and the two friends head off, leaving behind Chicago. While Colin passed on the opportunity to see the world's largest crucifix in Kentucky, his curiosity got the better of him when he saw the sign for the Eternal Resting Place of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The two friends make their way to the small town of Gutshot, Tennessee as a result.
After a fall while on the way to the gravesite of the Archduke, Colin has the "Eureka!" moment he has been waiting for all his life. He is sure he can work out a mathematical equation to predict the outcome of any relationship. He calls it The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability.
Hassan and Colin agree to stick around Gutshot for a little while, after being offered a job and a place to stay. There they meet the beautiful chameleon Lindsay Lee Wells, her mother, Hollis, The Other Colin, and various other interesting characters.
Colin is not the easiest person to like, but then, he is more at home with facts and figures than he is with people. He can be very literal at times and occasionally comes across as self-centered. That self-centeredness stems more from insecurity, however, than arrogance. As smart as Colin is, he never quite believes he's good enough and needs constant reassurance.
His best friend, Hassan, on the other hand, is instantly likable. He is funny and charming. He offers a good balance to Colin. Whereas Colin takes life so seriously, Hassan has a tendency to do the opposite. Where Colin is driven, Hassan lacks ambition. At least on the surface.
The funniest moments in the novel involved both Colin and Hassan. I loved how they played off each other. The story itself was one I think many of us can relate to: the sting of heartbreak and the search for direction in our lives. Not everything always works out as we might hope, and sometimes the answers we are searching for are right in front of us. I enjoyed An Abundance of Katherines quite a bit and look forward to reading more by John Green in the future.
DFTBA fellow Nerdfighters!
You see, Colin has a problem. Colin falls in love very easily. That wouldn't be such a bad thing if it wasn't for the fact that all his "loves" have been named Katherine (exactly 19 of them). Each of those Katherines have broken up with him for whatever reason; and after the love of his life (Katherine XIX) leaves him in a terribly bad place he decides to use that to his advantage. He tries to make himself a genius by coming up with the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, to not only make himself known for something, but to also figure out why all nineteen Katherines have dumped him.
As a distraction, Colin and his best friend Hassan set out on a road trip to nowhere, in The Hearse (Colin's car). Seeing a sign for the grave of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the boys head to Gutshot, Tennessee; a small town, where they happen upon Lindsey Lee Wells, a girl who is nothing like any Katherine has been for Colin. She reads celebrity rag magazines, her friends, her boyfriend (also named Colin, aptly dubbed T.O.C. aka The Other Colin), and her wealthy mother Hollis, who offers the boys a place to stay. The palace-sized home on top of the hill being more than just large and full of interesting things, but it's also a shade of pink only rivaled by a bottle of Pepto Bismol.
Hollis hires the boys to accompany Lindsey with getting an oral history of Gutshot, which means visiting everyone that works in the factory (which produces tampon strings, just so you know), the people too old to work, and the people so old to work they are in the old folks home. Colin also decides his "Eureka" moment is finishing the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, but what he doesn't count on is better than finishing any theorem. He not only finds himself, but that there are some things (i.e. chance, memory recollection, the unpredictability of matters of the heart) that can't be solved in a theorem, math, or science. Some things have to be lived, and we follow these three through their adventures, learning to be somebody, mattering as a person without being world-famous, and just growing up.
There are so many things about this book that I love! Upon meeting Lindsey's friends, the boys immediately came up with amusing acronyms for them (J.A.T.T. aka Jeans Are Too Tight, hehe). As someone who lives in Tennessee, I still couldn't help giggle every time Gutshot was mentioned. The footnotes! I forgot how fun those could be! The characters are quirky, and there is the ability to relate to them in a sense, and real. And the book taught me things I didn't know! Just for amusement, here are five things I didn't know before reading An Abundance of Katherines:
Nikola Telsa loved...pigeons (yea, I know)...and had the original electricity idea, not Thomas Eddison.
Looking at it from a scientific point of view, there is no proof that drinking eight glasses of water will do a darn thing for your health.
William Taft was not only the fattest president, but got stuck in a bath tub one time (hehehe, so funny)
Abligurition is an actual word, that I can't pronounce, but means "the spending of too much money on food."
Not only is there a World's Largest Crucifix, but it is in Kentucky.
This is one of the few books that I would recommend to everyone! Don't worry about all the math, there are footnotes and graphics to explain it all. This is a book that guys and girls alike can enjoy!
Dumped 19 times by Katherines, Colin Singleton, a recent high school graduate is a mesa plus genius who now struggles with the existential reality that there are two
While Colin is able to immediately site tid bits of irrelevant facts, he lacks social skills and thus has only one lone friend.
Fearful that all his prodigious abiltiies will come to naught and that he will not make a mark in society, with a broken heart from the recently failed relationship with Katherine #19, Colin and his friend Hassan take a long road trip.
Stopping in Gunshot Tennesse, they meet a lovely, spunky, intelligent young woman who lives in a pink mansion with her CEO mother of a factory that employs many of the local population.
Green's writing is creative and I enjoyed the way in which his words seemed to bounce, much as the old car driven by Calvin and Hassan along the southern roads.
The only negative is that I couldn't follow the teen age boy banter and exchanges. At times, this aspect of the book seemed forced and redundant.
If you are looking for a book wherein you don't have to think a lot and you want to laugh, then this is one for you.
I think that this book is just in general a great book to add to your classroom library, but the language is rather rough, so i would reccommend it for eith grade and up. The reading level is much lower than that but the language is just so bad. This book can be used to teach self-confidence and security, and I especially think that it would be a great book for seniors to read because it shows that although neither one of the boys knew what they were here for they still lived their lives or learned to live their lives despite what had and hadn't happened to them. They especially learned that the future is coming no matter what and you can not always help what happens when is does come.
I absolutley love this book. I can't decide if l like this one better or looking for alaska. I told everyone to read looking for alaska and i would say the same thing about this book. Needless to say i will always remember the auhor John Green and i will be reading more of his books. So i will keep everyone updated on the progress, if the books get better or worse, for now they are looking very good.
Colin is a child prodigy; he learned to read at an incredibly early age, knows a magnitude of strange random facts, and is constantly anagramming in his head. He also has a quirky thing for Katherines; he has dated 19 of them and been dumped by them all. After being dumped by Katherine 19 he has fallen into a funk; his buddy Hassan decides what Colin needs is a road trip. So off they go on a road trip. Colin is determined to use the time on the road to develop a mathematical theorem that will predict how long a relationship will last.
This was a fun read. Full of interesting footnotes and quirky mathematical equations; as well as interesting characters. All of the characters are exceedingly well done. Green's writing is superb. He does a great job of putting a lot of interesting facts, a lot of quirkiness, great humor, and some coming of age lessons into this interesting read.
The book was very engaging; I never got bored. I liked all the funny facts that Colin knew, I also enjoyed Colin's struggle to work through the mathematics to predict the relationship equation.
There wasn't much that I didn't like about this book. But I did like Green's book Paper Towns better than this one, I think it is mainly the characters that make the difference. This book isn't quite as adventurous or mysterious as Paper Towns was. I never really liked Colin all that much, he was a bit self-centered...that made a difference in how I liked the book overall.
Overall this was a great read. I didn't like it as much as Paper Towns but it was close. I look forward to reading the only John Green book I haven't read yet "Looking for Alaska".
The book begins on the day after high school graduation for Colin Singleton, age 17 and “noted child prodigy” obsessed with making anagrams. He has just been dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine. Colin is weepy and morose and self-absorbed. As he says to his one friend, Hassan:
"Oh my God, I’m alone again. And not only that, but I’m a total failure in case you haven’t noticed. I’m washed up, I’m former. Formerly the boyfriend of Katherine XIX. Formerly a prodigy. Formerly full of potential. Currently full of shit.”
Hassan (who introduces himself to people as “Hassan Harbish. Sunni Muslim. Not a terrorist.”) decides what Colin needs is a road trip, and they take off for points south.
In Gutshot, Tennessee, they stop to see the alleged burial site of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and meet up with the Wells family. Lindsey Lee Wells, 17, is the tour guide for the gravesite, and her mom, Hollis, is the owner of the only factory in Gutshot. Hollis offers the two boys a job interviewing workers in the factory, and provides them with room and board as well in her big pink mansion on a hill. Before long, Hassan is dating Lindsey’s hot girlfriend Katrina, and Lindsey is helping Colin refine his mathematical Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability. More importantly, Lindsey is teaching Colin how to tell a story that will affect another person, and Colin is learning that there is more than one way to “matter” than to be famous.
Discussion: I love the questions about the meaning of life raised by Green in his books. For example, Hassan loves to watch Judge Judy, and Colin takes issue with him:
"…he just didn’t get Hassan’s apathy. What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable? How very odd, to believe God gave you life, and yet not think that life asks more of you than watching TV.”
(On the author’s website, there is this Q and A exchange over that quote):
"Q. Are you aware that the quotation, “What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” has been quoted more than ten thousand times on twitter?
A. Yes, I am aware. For the record, I think there are many meanings to a life that is not lived in pursuit of the remarkable. Life is a series of very small gestures and that if you ignore those little gestures in pursuit of some ill-thought-out vision of greatness, you stand a fair chance of ending up really unhappy and also historically unhelpful regardless of whether you meet your constructed definition of remarkability. (Let us think, for instance, of Kim Kardashian.) But, I mean, Colin does say that in the novel. I do wish twitter would attribute the quote to him and not to me, though. :)"
Evaluation: Green’s writing is delightful, and he is a master at channeling very smart, nerdy, pretentious teenage boys, as well as their friends and their girlfriends. This book has a number of footnotes, which makes it even more fun. But Green does more than just tell you a story: he makes you think about all kinds of things, and (in both books reviewed on this blog) makes a convincing argument about how important stories are to changing the reader, and maybe even changing the world.
Once again another amazing book by John Green. This was an awesome book about love and loss, and long math equations trying to graph the rise and fall of every relationship based on factors. Throughout this book every character learns things about themselves, and it rubs off on the reader a little bit. There is also a great interview with John Green in the back of the new edition.
Hassan is hilarious and the book is worth reading just for the conversations between the two friends.
Colin has just been dumped by the 19th girl named Katherine he has dated. He feels like a piece of himself has gone missing and that he has no idea how to find it. His best friend, Hassan, forces Colin on a road trip to help take his mind off of his depression. They find themselves in Gutshot, Tennessee visiting the grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Why? Because Colin is a child-prodigy who enjoys collecting facts. But he considers himself a failed prodigy because he has yet to do anything remarkable. The two boys discover much more than a monument in Gutshot in this funny novel filled with swearing in several languages, fascinating factoids in footnotes, and a theorem that just may predict if relationships will thrive or fail.
Green's humor will have you laughing outloud. Truly. The wild pig hunting scene had me doubled over laughing as I tried to continue to read, only to start guffawing again. To pay it the ultimate compliment, it rivaled Gary Paulsen's Harris and Me. Thoughout the book readers will find little gems of humor that beg to be read aloud and shared. I think this will be the type of book passed from one teen to the other just to enjoy a good laugh together.
Even better, the book is not just funny, but also has insights into being popular, accepting your own strangeness, and realizing that to be different does not mean that you are alone. This is a book for all real teens out there. It will speak to them and they will see themselves somewhere in the pages looking back. Simply great.
As he did in Looking for Alaska John Green has created an unusual central character with a one of a kind fixation, in the case of Colin, An Abundance of ex-girlfriends all named Katherine. However, I really enjoyed all the characters in this story much more than I did the ones in Alaska. Hassan made a perfect sidekick and foil for the overly studious, serious Colin. I also really enjoyed Lindsey's character and the relationship that she had with her mother. Parts of the story made me smile, especially the scene with the hog and the wasps. I also found all the trivia, footnotes and math (which I didn't really understand at all) to be fascinating. The only thing I didn't really like is during some of the conversations it was too easy to lose track of who was saying what which meant a lot of retracing what I had already read. Although contemporary stories will probably never rate as favorites for me, I enjoyed this book and would be happy to read more of Mr. Green's clever tales in the future.