Saturday, 21 December 2013

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

After having this book recommended to me I was expecting great things from it, even the reviews online emphasised how hilariously funny it was so I was keeping it saved for the next time I needed something good to read. Expecting it to be anything like The Fault in Our Stars however, was a huge mistake.

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"For some utterly bizarre reason, the book is all centred around an incredibly annoying boy named Colin who tries to create a mathematical formula to help him understand relationships. To get over his latest break up with the nineteenth Katherine (yeah, even after reading it I don’t see the point of all the Katherine business other than to relate to the title), his friend Hassan persuades them to go on a roadtrip. The rest is fairly obvious, they meet a girl, she has an arsehole of a boyfriend and Colin is the unattractive, painfully awkward hero - gah gah gah gah.

Even if there was some possible way to like, or even tolerate more bearably, the main character, the other characters are too bland to bother with. Hassan’s character simply revolves around fat jokes and Muslim jokes tagged with the occasional attempt at trying to make us like Colin by pointing out what an idiot he is for someone so ‘clever’.


If the characters were given a stronger plot, or the dull plot given stronger characters then maybe this book could have worked but otherwise it simply was a pain to read. Most of the plot points were so distantly linked that it seemed like a mesh of ideas were pinned on a corkboard and then just thrown together on a whim.
If there was any redeeming feature of this book I’d have to say it was the description of Gunshot and its residents. It was the only thing at all that felt authentic despite everyone’s apparent adoration for Lyndsey being a complete mystery.

Compared to The Fault in Our Stars, this book was a complete let down. In fact, I wouldn’t have believed it was even written by the same author if I hadn’t already known. As John Green still has a wonderful reputation for producing great reads, I won’t give up on him yet but had I read An Abundance of Katherines before The Fault in Our Stars, I probably wouldn’t even remember his name."

(Read: November 28-30 2013)

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