Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Book Talk for John Green's An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Colin is a washed-up child prodigy who has just been dumped for the 19th time by a girl named Katherine. Colin was so sure that this time, this Katherine was the one. But now he’s heartbroken, graduated from high school and is convinced he’ll never amount to anything. Ever. Not only is he sure he’s going to die alone, but he’s also sure he’ll never be able to cross from child prodigy to genius. What does it matter if he can anagram any word or phrase in the English language? He’ll never amount to anything. Never, ever, ever.

Of course, there’s only one cure for heart break and despair. A road trip. Colin’s friend Hassan, who is awesome, shows up to drag Colin off the floor of his bedroom for an epic road trip. They road trip along until Colin notices a sign, in Tennessee, claiming that the town on Gutshot contains the grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. A girl named Lindsey Lee Wells escorts them to the grave, and it’s on the way there that Colin trips on a molehill, smacks himself in the head and has his eureka moment. He knows what he’ll do that will take him from prodigy to genius. He knows how he’ll leave his mark on the world. Love is graphable. Colin will create a mathematical equation that will show who will break up with whom and approximately how long the relationship will last.

Hassan and Colin work out a deal with Lindsey’s mother, Hollis. In exchange for staying at her place, Hassan and Colin will take oral histories of the workers of the Gutshot textile mill, which Hollis owns. This still leaves Colin plenty of time to work on his Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability. And hijinks ensue.

I love everything John Green has ever written, but this one is absolutely my favorite. It’s so funny, and don’t worry if math isn’t your favorite, it isn’t actually math heavy. If you are into math, there’s an appendix that goes into detail about the equation. It’s a really great book; I would recommend it to anyone.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.

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