Reviewing: An Abundance of Katherines

I have been reading and not reviewing for a while now. I know, I should be locked up and punished for being such a bad, bad girl, lol. But lately, in my defense, life has been a little crazy and I have not been myself. I’m getting back on track, I just need time to sort my head out a bit.

But yesterday I finished reading An Abundance of Katherines and, before picking up another book, I remembered that I’ve read TFiOS, LFA and PT and reviewed all of them, and really enjoyed the process. So I thought to myself, Meriem, John Green is your idol, and his books are awful good, do you really want to break a perfect streak of four reviewed books by the same brilliant author whom you particularly idolize? Nu-uh, I don’t think so.

As I said before, this is my fourth John Green book. It should come as no surprise that I absolutely loved it. I mean, the man is a freaking genius. I love how his bloody brains work.

Look at those covers! So fugging beautiful. I own the red one, but I want them all. *heart eyes*

Okay so this story is about this guy called Colin Singleton. Colin has two quirky things about him: A. he’s a child prodigy, a super smart guy who can speak many languages, anagram anything and everything, and has a strong tendency to throw random useless facts in every day conversation that most people will inevitably find weird and non-interesting. And B. he has been dumped 19 times by girls named Katherine.

The story starts off with K-19 dumping Colin and him being a complete wreck after the break-up, and I mean like, a full-on wreck. He was lying face-down in his own tears, sweat and vomit when his (arab) best friend Hassan came in to scrap his sorry ass off the floor. But Colin wasn’t having any of it, he didn’t want any help from Hassan or anyone else, he just wanted to lie there and wallow in self-pity and heartbreak. And that’s when Hassan came up with the brilliant idea of them going on a road trip to help Colin get his mind off of K-19.

So far I tried to give a kind of overall synopsis of the book, but the next paragraphs will be pretty spoiler-heavy, so if you haven’t read the book yet, I’d advise you to stop reading.

Right, so there are like literally a thousand and one things I love about this book, I just hope I won’t miss anything, and that I’ll sound convincing and coherent and not-so-crazy-bubbly as I always do, lol.

Okay, first and foremost, the writing style, the feel of it, it’s just SO GOOD. I remember reading the first page and feeling so familiar with the writing style, and then I thought to myself, this is SO John Green. Out of all his books, the John Green-ness of AAoK is the highest. It’s quirky and hilarious and so full of relatable quotes.

Second: the characters, as a whole. This should come as no surprise: John Green’s characters are amazing. They feel so real, so flawed and so human. You can easily put yourself in their shoes and think ‘wow, this could actually be me!’ Among the characters of a John Green book, I assure you, there’s bound to be one character with whom you can strongly connect. (Just be careful not to fall in love tho, lol, he tends to kill them off quite often!) Also, the friendships they develop between them are just so precious and adorable, they just click together so well. There’s always the quirky weird one, the one who always makes bad jokes, the sarcastic one, the pretentious one and the one who can’t not talk about sex. Seriously, the group friendship in any John Green book is quite the thorough one.

Now, I’ll try to tackle the characters individually:

Colin

Right, so Colin is a nerd who is also a dumbass and I love him for that. He’s so smart, academically speaking, as smart as any child prodigy could get, but that doesn’t stop him being dumped 19 times by girls named Katherine. Sometimes I feel the smartest kids end up making the dumbest decisions, lol. Conveniently enough, when Colin was lying face down in his on bedroom floor covered in sweat and tears and vomit and feeling like his world was over, I was going through the same thing. I know what he means by ‘the missing piece’ or ‘gaping hole’ in your gut. It hurts like heck and it never stops. You feel it physically and it’s so annoying. Nothing fills it, not even the return of the person who had originally placed it there. I was feeling it right then, and had always wondered whether anyone else knew how it felt. Then Colin came along and I wanted to hug him so bad. Another thing I love about Colin is his obsession with mattering. It’s so typical and so naive but I can’t help myself wanting to matter in the world, and neither can he. Now more than ever, actually. Now that he doesn’t have a Katherine to love and to love him, he wants to create something grand and unprecedented so bad it actually hurts. He wants his Theorem to work, because it’ll give him value, it’ll make him jump the leap from child prodigy to genius, it’ll give him a reason to live.

Lindsey

Lindsey is a formidable character, but only towards the end of the book did I really, really love her. When she opened up to Colin about her ‘chameleoning’, I was full-on mind blown. It was a thing that I always did but never knew it was actually a thing that had a name. Chameleoning means that your entire life is bullshit. You’re never the same person with two different people. At first, you think you’re just good at adapting to different situations, but soon enough, it snow-balls into you literally not having a single consistent personality, you’re just a cluster of all the different versions of yourself that people want you to be. Your life loses meaning, your identity makes no sense to you, and eventually you become tried of all the personalities you have to put on all the time. I’m like that, sometimes.. Okay, most of the time. It’s not nice at all.

Hassan

Hassan is just pure hilarity, and the fact that he is a muslim and not a very good one makes him PERFECT because I am too. His thunderstick jokes are the best, and the way him and Colin talk is just pure gold. They’re boys, but they’re not any typical, dull boys. They’re interesting, well, at least to me. I know I love hanging out with them. Well, anyway, I LOVED reading the arabic conversations between Hassan and Colin, especially when they speak arabic so that no one knows what they’re saying, because it’s probably less offensive to speak a foreign language that not everyone in the room speaks than for them to actually hear what is being said. I LOVED the concept of Dingleberries, and how they always get on each other’s backs just for the hell of it. I loved Hassan’s insults, they’re so unique and not so insulting as much as just freaking funny. And I LOVE how when Colin effortlessly and mindlessly says a random fact in normal conversation, Hassan just looks at him and says ‘NOT INTERESTING, SINGLETON.’ That’s how good friends are like, rude as heck to each other.

Themes:

Mattering

The concept of mattering is a big one in AAoK. In fact, I’m sensing a common theme between this book and the other three I’ve read from John Green, ie TFiOS, PT and LFA. They all have different themes separately, but all share the theme of Mattering and Oblivion and the obsession with leaving a mark upon the world. I LOVE that.

Colin’s Theorem

I LOVE that theorem. I didn’t go the extra mile to read the Appendix which provides mathematical explanation as to how it works, but that’s just because I don’t really like math. But still, I loved how John Green was able to mix the two things that define me (I love books so much and hate maths so much lol) and create something so utterly beautiful. I was rooting so much for Colin to finish his theory and have it work perfectly, I wanted that for him so bad because he deserved it, and when he actually made it, it suddenly struck me that if Colin can come up with a mathematical formula that predicts the future of an relationship, I sure God can write my goddamned book. Anything is possible as long as you keep going. That was my Eureka moment. ❤

Friendship

This book has taught me that when you get dumped, you need a Hassan. Breakups are the worst, but if you have a Hassan, he can at least scoop your sorry ass off the floor and drag you on a road trip. Friends like Hassan are the greatest, they hear you complain and complain about how you’re heartbroken and pathetic and unlovable and worthless and once you’re done, they’ll tell you damn right you are then order you some pizza. If you have a Hassan, hold on to that fugger.

Love

Isn’t love a big load of bullshit? Yes, it is. It is when you get dumped 19 times by girls who share the same name. We all have these kinds of things we look for in a partner, and we always go for them even though we know it hadn’t worked before so it probably won’t work now, but we usually turn a blind eye to that and then we’re sorry when things go to shit and our hearts get broken again. But do you know when love isn’t bullshit? It’s when a Colin gives up the idea of Katherine the XVIII or any other future Katherine and goes for his First Lindsey, whom he’ll be the Second Colin of. Let go of the past, you owe nothing to it.

I think I’m done here. This is the longest review I’ve ever written. ❤

I’ll wrap it up with a few quotes that I absolutely love from the book. I wish I could say they’re mine, Pinterest people are crazy talented when it comes to art and quotes. ❤

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