Wednesday, July 4, 2012

An Abundance of Laughter

An Abundance of Katherines
A child prodigy does not necessarily grow up to be a genius adult. Imagine being studied, challenged, and revered as a child only to slowly grow up as a smart, but not genius level, quirky adult. In John Green's An Abundance of Katherines, Colin Singleton is all too painfully aware that his best years might be long behind him.

Colin was a child prodigy. Now he is just a quirky young adult who remembers inane facts and has a thing for girls named Katherine. In fact, he has had 19 girlfriends named Katherine, all with their own stories and all with their own reasons for dumping Colin. When K19 dumps Colin, he can't bring himself to just go on with life as usual. His wise-cracking Lebanese friend Hassan has a wonderful solution: a road trip! 

The two boys climb into the car and head off into the sunset with no real destination in mind as long as it is not home. When they end up in Gutshot, Tennessee, they realize the small town has more to offer than just the body of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. With a motley crew of people centered around a tampon string factory and the impetus for WWI, Hassan and Colin find jobs, first kisses, another Colin, and a theorem that can predict the longevity of relationships and reveals Colin's life as a Dumpee. 

Have you ever watched a movie where not much happened, but the witty dialogue kept you giggling and hanging on until the end? That is the gist of An Abundance of Katherines. The quirky relationship between Colin and Hassan will have you laughing from start to finish. I can honestly say there isn't much action to this story, but that won't stop you from enjoying the story. Colin's obsession with Katherines and intrigue with Lindsay leads him to develop a mathematical equation that explains the life of a relationship. For a washed up prodigy, his success with the equation is reliant upon his need to feel useful and intelligent again. Both boys are such unique characters, you will wish you knew them in person!

This book has some mild intimate content and a decent amount of choice language, but that isn't the reason I would save this book for an older student. The dialogue is so quirky and fast it would most likely be lost on a younger student. It requires a unique sense of humor and appreciation for sarcasm and wit to enjoy this book. If you enjoy those things, you will undoubtedly love this book. If you are looking for a linear story with a beginning, a middle, and a conclusion, this book might not be your cup of tea. The other cool feature of this book is the footnotes. They add to the story in unique ways, giving snarky remarks regarding the story, confirming or denying tidbits of information, and developing the characters further. So don't overlook the footnotes, and if you need a witty book to make you laugh, Katherines is waiting for you!

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