An Abundance of Katherines, what can I say? It’s written by John Green, the beloved and downright famous young adult contemporary writer, but it also seems to be his least liked novel. I haven’t seen many negative reactions to it per se, but it doesn’t seem elicit the sort of “enthusiastically tell everyone to read it and then proceed to quote it to death” reaction that his other novels have received.
So, what did I think? I have to follow the trend and say that it isn’t my favourite, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it’s more subtle in what it has to offer. I most admire John Green for never once underestimating and underappreciating teenagers. It’s quite a risk (as sad as that may be) to assume that teenagers will find enjoyment in complicated maths equations, anagramming, Arabic translations, and esoteric facts. One of the reasons why I sometimes cannot relate to contemporary fiction is because I feel many authors purely focus on a simple boy-girl relationship, not going beyond superficial attraction. John Green’s novels never feel like that to me; they are always thoughtful and intelligent.
I felt a little disconnected at first between the present story and the backstory regarding the abundance of Katherines. I really couldn’t work out the relevance except that it inserted more humour into, and give a reason for, the story. However, I soon realised that the story was just unveiling in an unexpected and usual way. By the time I was a little over halfway through, I loved the novel. How can anyone not love Colin, Hassan, and Lindsey, and wish they were with them in Tennessee, livin’ up the American road trip dream? I empathised with Colin and found it almost painful witnessing his inner turmoil.
An Abundance of Katherines is my fifth John Green novel. Five down, one to go. I love John Green’s books for being highlights in contemporary fiction, and this novel was no different. Even though it didn’t resonate with me as much as his other work, it still deserves immense praise and recognition. If you’ve not yet read John Green, seriously, what are you waiting for, you sitzpinkler?