An Abundance of Katherines follows child prodigy Colin Singleton and his attempt to come up with a perfectly logical reason behind the 19 times he’s been dumped by girls who share the name Katherine and to create a theorem that predicts the future of all relationships. Accompanying him in his big adventure of initial self-pity that will eventually lead to self-discovery is Hassan who is fictional proof but proof nonetheless that, contrary to popular opinion, Muslims can be perfectly likable people. Along for the ride is Lindsey, a girl they meet in the small Tennessee town, who, in my opinion, is the heart of the story.
This is the third book I’ve read that is written by John Green (the first one being The Fault in Our Stars and the second one Looking For Alaska). I have to admit, reading the first half of the book was a little bit of a struggle to me since a lot of it had to do with Colin being pretty whiny about his love life or lack thereof. Until I remembered that I’ve also had my fair share of whiny and self-absorbed moments. And somewhere toward the latter half of the story, I realized that a big reason why we feel unhappy with our lives is our belief that we’re entitled to everything we want. And that realization was brought about by some of the following lines:
What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable? How very odd, to believe God gave you life, and yet not think that life asks more of you than watching TV. (p.33)
I don’t think God gives a shit if we have a dog or if a woman wears shorts. I think He gives a shit about whether you’re a good person. (p.87)
You can love someone so much. But you can never love people as much as you can miss them. (p.105)
Getting people to like you is easy, really. It’s a wonder more people don’t do it. (p.144)
Do you ever wonder whether people would like you more or less if they could see inside you? (p.140)
I feel like, like, how you matter is defined by the things that matter to you. You matter as much as the things that matter to you do. (p.200)
It’s easy to get stuck. You just get caught in being something, being special or cool or whatever, to the point where you don’t even know why you need it; you just think you do. (p.201)
Maybe life is not about accomplishing some bullshit markets. (p.201)
It’s funny, what people will do to be remembered. (p.201)
And the moral of the story is that you don’t remember what happened. What you remember becomes what happened. (p.208)
Breaking up isn’t something that gets done to you; it’s something that happens with you. (p.208)
While I definitely don’t love the story as much as I did The Fault in Our Stars, I love how it has a healthy dose of thoughts on life and people and growing up. I especially love that Colin Singleton, weird and slightly annoying as he may be, is really us, even if we hadn’t been in 19 relationships by the time we turned 17 years old.