Happy Friday, Bookworms!
A few weeks back I wrote about how much I loved The Fault in Our Stars so I decided to pick up another John Green novel. I settled on An Abundance of Katherines for a couple of reasons. First, it was the only John Green book available from the library for my kindle. Second, I’m very self involved. Fun fact! Did you know “Katie” is short for “Kathryn?” I know you’re shocked. Kathryn with a “y” and Katie with an “ie”?! I know. Sadly, I had no part in naming myself, so I couldn’t prevent this travesty. However. Since the main character in this book had a fixation with “Katherines” I thought I’d get a little ego boost for my awesomeness of name. Sadly, this was not to be…
Complaint #1: Early in the book our “hero” Colin explains that he only likes K-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E-S. No Katies, Kates, Kathryns, Catherines, Kathys, Kats, or Katrinas will do. This revelation started Colin and I off on the wrong foot, and I’m afraid we never got quite onto the right one. Colin is a “prodigy.” He’s got a super sharp brain and he is fluent in 11 languages. Now, I really like nerds. I like awkward folks. I root for the underdog. But…
Complaint #2: Colin is not likable AT ALL. He’s a smug little jerk. He’s whiny and his teen angst lacks the charm of, say, a Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower type character. Maybe I’m just jealous. I’m sure that plays a part in my distaste. I would love to be brilliant, but I know deep down that at best I’m an A minus student. I knew kids who memorized digits of pi for fun, but I liked them better than I liked Colin. I suppose they were more humble because they weren’t brought up as prodigies? Who knows. And why isn’t Colin seeing a therapist? I mean, really? The kid is obsessed with girls named Katherine. That isn’t healthy. Which brings me to…
Complaint #3: How did Colin get 17 (yeah, he dated one Katherine twice) girls to agree to go out with him? I was a much more likable child/adolescent/teen! He got more dates than I did in high school, and THAT IS NOT FAIR! Ugh.
Complaint #4: Colin and his buddy said “fug” all the time. Now, I’m not one to go around dropping F-bombs like they’re hot, but it annoyed me. I know, I KNOW it was in homage to Norman Mailer, but still. If you want to say the F-word, just say it. If you want to avoid saying it, come up with a more amusing alternative. I enjoy “frick” or “flim-flamming” myself. “Fizzing Whizbees” anyone?
I know, I’m being hard on this book. It’s just tough to appreciate something when you spend most of your time wanting to shake some sense into the main character. I hate to be totally negative on a Friday, so I’ll discuss a few of the things I liked.
Compliment #1: Colin’s BFF Hassaan was pretty cool. What’s not to like about a Muslim kid who embraces his chubby physique and has an unhealthy obsession with Judge Judy?!
Compliment #2: Even though the premise of Colin and Hassaan ending up in Gutshot, Tennessee was ludicrous, I liked the idea of a small town kept afloat by a tampon string factory. And the lengths the factory would go to in order to keep supporting their retirees.
Compliment #3: Lindsey hangs out with old people. I like that John Green makes it seem cool to chill with the old folks. Everyone, go call a grandparent right now! (If you’re lacking in the grandparent department, send a greeting card to Great Aunt Shirley or something. It’s good karma.)
Compliment #4: The title of this book gets “27 Jennifers” by Mike Doughty stuck in my head, and you just don’t hear that song enough these days.
Have any of you bookworms read much John Green? Do you think I should give him another shot or cut my losses? If you have no opinions on John Green, you certainly have an opinion on the color green. Tell me about that. (The correct opinion on the color green is that it is the AWESOMEST COLOR IN THE RAINBOW. I’m open to your varying levels of incorrectness, however.)