Saturday, October 11, 2008 by Becky
Green, John. 2006. An Abundance of Katherines.
An Abundance of Katherines is about nothing and everything all at the same time. If it has a message at all, the message is that you write your own message, tell your own story. Our hero is recent high school graduate, Colin Singleton. And Singleton's problem is that he's single. He's got a long history of being the dumpee (as opposed to being the dumper). He's been dumped nineteen times--so he says--all by girls named Katherine. We first meet Colin after his nineteenth break-up.
Hassan is the best friend a half-Jewish boy could ever hope to have. (Did I mention he was Muslim?) He is Colin's sidekick. And their relationship--this friendship--is quite the motivating force behind the narrative. Two individuals who on their own might be a wee bit odd, but together they make a great team. A hilarious team. Colin is stuck within himself. As a person. He defines himself as the boy who's doomed to fall in love with Katherines and get dumped. That and he defines himself as a child prodigy (high I.Q) who's bound to grow up and NOT be a genuius, NOT matter. He defines himself as a failure. He hasn't found true love. He hasn't made a difference in the world. Half the time he doesn't even know if it's possible for his life to matter when it all comes down to it. He's stuck focusing on himself. All the time. Worrying about his future. Worrying about who's going to dump him next. Worrying if he's ever NOT going to be dumped.
Fortunately, Hassan wants Colin to get it. To learn that life is for living. So the two embark on a road trip. A road trip that soon takes an unexpected turn to an out-of-the-way town of Gutshot. There he meets Lindsay. A girl who while not a Katherine may just be the best thing that ever happened to him. Maybe. But first, he has to stop and ponder the meaning of the universe and write this unbelievably complex theorem on why his love life is so ridiculously awful.
First sentence: The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews