An Abundance of Katherines is Abundantly Genius

This review comes to you a lot later than I had intended it to arrive.

An Abundance of Katherines is John Green’s second book, and it was one of the weirdest reading experiences I have ever had in my life.

Following up Looking For Alaska was quite a task for this book, and despite what can only be seen as its best efforts, it doesn’t quite manage to come to that level. However, that isn’t to say this is a bad book, because it is captivating in its messages, that resonate explicitly and implicitly in the interwoven natures of the characters and themes this book explores.

Colin Singleton has just broken up with Katherine – or Katherine XIX – after a year-long relationship. He is a child prodigy who is struggling to find his place in the world, and, peculiarly, only dates girls who are named Katherine. His friend Hassan convinces him to go on a road trip, during which they unexpectedly receive jobs in Gutshot, Tennessee, where the majority of the book is set.

This book is nothing like Looking For Alaska, and that is a compliment. Publishing two books that are so far apart isn’t something easy to do. An Abundance of Katherines is probably the most contained book I’ve ever read, and I don’t just mean by setting, I mean by plot, characters and motifs. It also comes with the longest author’s note I’ve ever seen – and probably the most essential one – but what that note does most importantly is express the actual effort and thought that went into this book. It’s quite extraordinary.

My only issue is that it concludes rather abruptly, even though I did like the way it ended. The entire story comes to a head quite quickly, and I would have liked to be able to read more in the last few pages.

Other than that, it’s a great book that takes little thought to understand its core ideas, and quite focused thought to fully understand all that it is trying to communicate to the reader. It encourages you, sometimes in the simplest ways possible, to read between the lines. That’s something special right there.

On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

An Abundance of Katherines: MIHIR

 

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