It’s time Mime and I had another little discussion.
Instead of a rather gritty interrogation (like last time) we’re having a civilised chat about An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. Since Mime’s on holidays, we decided FOR ONCE to read the same book. We almost always read different books. At least, this way, we cover more ground. But it’s nice to be able to discuss once and a while, right?
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.
On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.
MIME: Perhaps The Fault in Our Stars has set the bar unusually high, but The Abundance of Katherines was…weird. Weird in a few different ways. Like, who writes a book about maths? Really? Maths?
CAIT: I personally hate maths. This may come as a surprise to you, but I legitimately do not like numbers. They’re so stiff and unimaginative. There’s only one answer! ONE! How narrow-minded is that?! Where is the creative license?
MIME: But it makes it easy to mark…I usually get my math tests back within a week! For a book about math, it was a bit improbable. Colin (the narrator) had 19 girlfriends over the course of his 17 years. All named Katherine. How likely is it to meet (in your area) 19 people with a name of Katherine all spelled the same way!? It’s not probable, statistically. I don’t know if that flavoured my opinion of the book before I started.
CAIT: He wouldn’t date Kates, or Katrinas or Catherines or Kits or Cats or Cates or Kaitlyns. It was Katherines or nothing for our little Colin McFussy. He’s CDO, which is like OCD, but the letters are in the correct order, yes?
MIME:You saw that on Pinterest.
CAIT: Sue me.
MIME: So the biggest things in any John Green book, is firstly death, and secondly, humour.
CAIT: Which is why we enjoy them so much. Death and funniness! Gallows humour! Yay!
MIME: Surprisingly, this book was more about break ups than death. (Though, apparently, break ups are like death for teenagers.) But as for the funniness! Oh, this books gets all the stars. Or most of them.
CAIT: Colin was quite like Mime, actually. High achiever. Little genius. Terrible sense of humour. (Just joking, Mime, you’re mildly funny a few times a year.) It was his BFF, Hassan, who was hilarious. Even when Colin fell and bashed his head on a rock, did Hassan run to the rescue? Nope. He just let Colin lie there.
MIME: Because Hassan is just like Cait!
CAIT:I reject that. Then there was Lindsey! I’d like to call her the “love-interest” but Colin has this THING for Katherines, so he basically could not fall in love with Lindsey. SO, Mimey, do you think the characters here were similar or different to John Green’s other books?
MIME: Well, this makes the third of his books I’ve read —
CAIT: (I’ve read 4! I win! Ha ha!)
MIME: (What are you, five?) — and I have to say, they were not the same characters. Colin was maybe closest to Pudge from Looking for Alaska, but in a way that they would get along as friends rather than be twins. Actually, Colin was a difficult character, because he had a lot going on. In fact, he was almost a bit self-absorbed at times, because he had so much happening in his head.
CAIT:Smart people do have to suffer a lot. It’s so sad. But what can we do? All these thoughts! All these ingenious plans! It’s tiring, honestly. Being a genius is like this:
It’s very hard to contain, very hard to upkeep. Which is Colin’s problem actually. He’s having a mid-teen-crisis about if he’s a genius or not.
MIME: He’s not a genius, he’s a prodigy.
CAIT:Exactly! Crisis! The book is basically about WHO ARE YOU.
MIME: Actually, the book is about Colin being a control-freak because he wants to find a formula to predict exactly when he’ll get dumped in each relationship. Who does that? People are not math!
CAIT: I’d probably rate An Abundance of Katherines as my least liked John Green book. (TFIOS is still my favourite. Probably Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns are tied.)
MIME:I guess my real problem with the book was who the target audience is. I’m 16, in Year 10. Typical reader of YA contemporaries, right? I had no idea what the maths was, and I’m doing the advanced stuff.
CAIT: Are you tooting your trumpet, Mime? So advanced…yet you say “stuff”.
MIME: I said maths. Not eloquence.
CAIT: But! Fun fact: John Green doesn’t get maths either! He actually had a friend help him with all the maths in this book. I read it in the appendix. Did you read the appendix, Mime?
MIME: No, it was about maths.
CAIT: So we can basically conclude that, if a book is about maths, Mime and I and our puny brains will struggle.
MIME: My brains is not puny! Advanced in maths! And I still didn’t get Colin’s theorem. So is this book for seniors and university students and the really, really smart… who are going to be so brainy they might be bothered by the fact the book has no plot other than the discovery of this theorem and Colin’s love-life?
CAIT: Fussy, fussy. You’re so hard to please, aren’t you? Who will read this book? DFTBA fans, that’s who. And they’re smart. Or smart wannabes. I’m a wannabe. Because I can’t math.
MIME: I gave the book 3 stars. I really did have a good time reading it, but too many things bothered me the whole way through.
CAIT: I gave it 4-stars, because I’m a better Nerdfighter than you are.
MIME: I’ve watched more vlogs than you have.
CAIT:I filled out the Nerdfighter survey!!
MIME: I bought you Paper Towns for Christmas!
CAIT: I bought myself TFIOS for no reason! Ha!
MIME: I’M SAVING THE PLANET BY NOT CUTTING DOWN EXTRA TREES!
CAIT: WELL I LIKE PIZZA.
MIME: That’s the best you can do?
Cait and Mime are rather intelligent human beans, despite being woefully opposed to maths. Who needs those sneak little numbers anyway? They’re evil. Mime has just spent the last 3 days at Youth Orchestra with her flute whilst giggling at squeaky violins. Cait has spent the last 3 days sick and may or may not have watched a bit of Sherlock to pass the time.