Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Alexis Reads "An Abundance of Katherines" by John Green

In case you haven't noticed, I've taken to reading books all in one sitting lately*. Tonight's three hour long adventure was John Green's "An Abundance of Katherines".  Also, because I have a life and work until around 10 pm most nights, I finish my reading around two am. That would explain these late night blog posts. But hey. I'm an adult I can do whatever I want.

Anyways, just like "Paper Towns", "An Abundance of Katherines" follows a young boy around graduating age. Colin is a child prodigy who is particularly good at anagramming. I tried to think of a witty anagram for this blog title, but it is two in the morning, and I'm not good at anagrams even when I'm well rested. Colin has dated 19 Katherine's in his short life, and been dumped by all 19 of them, most recently Katherine the XIX who dumped him the night he graduated from high school.

So Colin, the boy who speaks 11 languages including Arabic, and Hassan, his Arabic best friend decide to go on a road trip to cure the depression that quickly follows the end of Colin's 343 day relationship. The book is a chronicle of what follows. I'm not going to say what happens because I want everyone to read this book, but it is a great adventure where our main character learns what it means to love and be loved, and tries his had at writing mathematical equations that can predict the future.

Keep in mind this is definitely a YA novel. Although I am technically in that demographic (I keep forgetting I'm almost 21, come on guys), sometimes I feel like I'm a little old for these books. But whatever. Frankly, I would read John Green's grocery lists**. As such, it is a pretty easy read, which is more fun because it is one of those books where you can just read through it and not have to be a genius to understand the message the author is trying to convey. A prodigy maybe, but not a genius. I did feel at times that the main character, Colin, was a little bit annoying, but, then again children who win $10,000 dollars on a show that is basically "Baby Jeopardy" aren't the most socially adept human beings.

I also felt...I don't know. There's romance in this book but I felt that it was justified romance. I mean, one encounter happens on accident but then Hassan is so happy that something has finally happens to him that he just keeps going with it. Another happens because "TOC" is a scumbag. And the third, well, normally you see a romantic encounter coming. The sexual tension between the main boy and girl is evident, but in the end he isn't awarded a female for learning a life lesson, it is as if they are meant to be together. And that makes me so happy.

Even though Colin is a super genius - excuse me - prodigy, the reader never feels out of the loop. John Green does an excellent job of making sure that if there is anything said or mentioned that the reader might not know, be it a translation of phrase someone speaks in French, or the mathematical equation of the length of a relationship, it is information readily available to the reader. I never for a second felt like the book was being condescending towards me. And if you read a lot of books, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Sometimes there are books that you pick out for fun and after they speak in seven languages and ask you to solve a philosophical puzzle in the middle of the book you realize you need to go back to college and get your PhD and then MAYBE you'll be ready to try it again.

Weirdly, this book is also in third person. The book is told from an omniscient point of view, which surprised me when I started reading, because the other three books I've read by John Green are very, very first person narrator oriented. So it was a welcome change to his writing style and I quite enjoyed it. But in the end, it was John Green's ability to create characters that come alive and are relatable and enjoyable that really sold this book for me.

Alexis is a 20something part time waitress, full time diva who enjoys staying up late to read all the wonderful books that are being put forth into the world. She would like to thank Johannes Gutenberg for printing books en masse possible, and her pre-k teacher, Crystal Click, for teaching her how to read. If you have any suggestions for Alexis, leave them in the comments below!

*Not that they are particularly long books, YA novels never really tend to be, but I guess some people don't possess that focus and are therefore amazed that one can read a 215 page book in three hours while also snapchatting and browsing tumblr. Also, the cover totally advertises TFIOS which wasn't even published for another six years. I love reprints. Also this is a reference. Read the book. You'll understand after literally the first page.

**Also a reference. I'll send a coffee gift card to whoever tells me what its from. 


Lara Gilde said...

** Reference from Gus letter :)

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