Recently, I completed a book which I bought to read only because the title was intriguing – ‘An Abundance of Katherines’ by John Green. I’m so happy that I read this book because in some ways it gives insight into my own character. This is one of those books which is downright funny, but has that sad tinge too – much like life. We have our funny days and we have our sad days. The funny days make you forget everything that worries you. On the sad days you ignore everything that is fun and brood over why things happen only to you. It turns out there is an explanation for everything and once we are ready to welcome the future rather than be concerned about it, things will be much better.
The book tells the story of Colin Singleton, a child prodigy and a high school graduate who has fallen in love with girls named Katherine nineteen times and been dumped nineteen times. After Katherine-19 dumps him, Colin feels lost and depressed. He undertakes a road-trip with his best friend Hassan and arrive at a place called Gutshot, Tennessee where they befriend a local textile factory owner, Hollis Wells and her daughter, Lindsey Lee Wells. In Gutshot, Colin tries to figure out why girls named Katherine always break up with him and to find a mathematical formula that will predict the outcome of any romantic relationship. He not only succeeds in formulating his theorem but also succeeds in finding meaning in love and life courtesy the people and events at Gutshot.
Colin is concerned that he is only a prodigy and not a genius. He finds succour in his ability to anagram words but deep down he is depressed and worried about the path his relationships take, particularly being a Dumpee (he doesn’t want to be a Dumper as well). In vain, he underpins hopes on being re-united with Katherine-19 with whom he had experienced the closest of all his romantic relationships. The theorem is something with which he tries to fill the void in his heart. The character of Colin appealed to me very much because sometimes I am so like Colin (sans the prodigy, the anagramming and the theorem :-)). Colin teaches us that the future may be unpredictable, but we can always watch out for it and welcome it with both hands. Plotting the graph of a relationship only explains to you the past; it is not in any way an indicator of the future. You can be unique as well as non-unique at the same time! And feeling non-unique is perfectly fine.
Hassan and Lindsey form the perfect friends for Colin, being with him through thick and thin, listening to him, never underestimating him but always encouraging him. We all need friends like that. A spark of thought from really close friends can lighten your thoughts; an understanding hand on your shoulders can mean the world to you; the kindness in their eyes can be the rock that holds you from falling off the cliff. If you have friends like that, just don’t lose them. They are diamonds that are forever!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Colin’s adventure. It’s a nicely written book with a lot of humor in the midst of some sorrow. The language is clear and flows smoothly. The characterization is quite good, though a couple of characters were unnecessary. I will give a rating of 3.5 on 5 for ‘An Abundance of Katherines’ by John Green. I’m deducting 0.5 for the complex mathematical formula which is the conclusion of Colin’s Theorem in the book. Though there is an appendix which explains the basis on which the theorem is structured, it actually does not explain the formula itself. But for this, I would give a rating of 4 on 5.
Read it folks, for a journey into Colin Singleton’s life. You will not be disappointed.