An Abundance of Katherines

Posted: December 7, 2012 in Book
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An Abundance of Katherines by John Greenabundance of katherines

Published by Dutton Juvenile, 2006

ISBN: 9780525476887

Genre: Realistic/Contemporary Fiction, Humor

Reading Level/Interest Age: Grades 9 and up

Author Biography:

John Green is a New York Times Bestselling author as well as the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Michael L. Printz award and the Edgar award.  Green is more than merely an author.  His fans have created an unmovable force behind all of his work.  Other than his books, Green is known for his youtube videos that he uses to correspond with his brother Hank.  The videos increased his popularity and now fans known as nerdfighters tune in to hear his opinions on whatever topic interests him that day.  Before his was an author, Green worked for the review magazine, Booklist, as a publishing assistant and production manager.

Green grew up in Orlando, FL but now currently lives in Indianapolis, IN.  He graduated with a B.A. from Kenyon college in both English and Religious Studies.  Information retrieved from John Green’s website.

Reader’s Annotation:

Colin and Hassan go on a road trip the summer before college and unexpected land in Gutshot, TN interviewing past and present employees of a local factory despite Colin’s obsession with proving his dating theorem.

Plot Summary:

Child prodigy, that’s prodigy not genius,Colin Singleton likes a specific type of girl.  Although, Colin does not look at the normal things guys looks for such as personality or appearance.  Colin looks for Katherines.  The nineteen relationships Colin has endured have one thing in common…every girl was named Katherine.  The last Katherine, referred to as K-19, left Colin with the worst broken heart in history.  There appears to be one cure for this heartache and that is a good, old-fashioned road trip.

Colin and his friend Hassan, who describes himself as “not a terrorist,” embark on a journey across the country.  There trek is cut short when the two boys make a pit stop in Gutshot, Tennessee to see the grave of Archduke Ferdinand, whose assassination caused World War I.  While there, Coin and Hassan meet Lesley Lee Wells and her entrepreneur mother, Hollis.  When Hollis offers the two boys a job in which they would have to interview the old-timers of Gutshot, Colin and Hassan decide to stick around for a while.  Colin spends his spare time hanging out with Lesley and working on his relationship theorem, which will hopefully someday predict the outcome of a relationship including who will break up with whom.

Critical Evaluation:

An Abundance of Katherines is a story about moving away from your past troubles and finding your new place in the world.  While Colin is struggling with his doomed relationships, Hassan is battling with the decision to go to college and Lesley is coming to terms with her dead-end relationship with her townie boyfriend. It’s interesting that three trio comes to terms with all of their issues of the future in a small town that has the reputation of being stuck in the past.

Green’s characterization in this novel is pure genius.  Colin is a true-to-life character who could easily fit in social circles everywhere.  Hassan’s comedic personality propels the story forward from the hysterical situations to the dramatic situations. The combination of these two people is so unexpected, but you just know that they will be friends forever.  I have seen authors try to create an odd couple type of friendship that has failed.  Sometimes conflicting character quirks can seem forced.  Green brings a truth to Colin and Hassan’s friendship.  This is a situation where I would like both of these characters to exist in real life, but they would have to come in a package.  The greatest of Colin only works in combination with Hassan and vice versa.

Finally, Green’s use of footnotes is in perfect character for Colin.  I imagine that he is one of those people who always have something to add, but gets tired of interrupting with his knowledge.  This is the best solution for Colin.

Curriculum Ties:

  • Summer Reading option or class discussion book

Booktalking Ideas:

  • Who has the most exes in the room?  Does anyone have more than 19?  Did they all have the same name?  If not, then Colin has you beat.
  • Are you constantly the dumper or the dumpee?

Challenge Issues:

  • Controversial Topics: Language
  • Defense:

- Familiarize yourself with the library’s policy so that you can defend the initial purchasing.

- Show reviews of the book.  An Abundance of Katherines received starred reviews and Green has won a Printz Honor for this title.

(Information received from ALA’s Using the Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials  webpage)

Why This Book?

An Abundance of Katherines was awarded the Printz Honor.  Also, the plot is entertaining and is a good choice for male readers.

References:

Green, J. (2012).  John Green’s Biography.  Retrieved from http://johngreenbooks.com/bio-contact/.

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Comments
  1. Janice says:

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment.

    I believe that you should publish more abojt tthis subject matter, it may
    not be a taboo subject but generally people do not discuss these topics.

    To the next! Many thanks!!

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