Book Review of ‘An Abundance of Katherines’ by John Green - The Ghost of Mediocrity


Picture Credits: Jess Just Reads

Every person has their forte, something that they have an affinity for and excel in at the same time. While most of us spend years trying to find it, some of us are lucky enough to discover it at a young age.

But being a prodigy is not always a blessing wrapped in rainbows and unicorns. Being exceptional at what you do can still come with its own share of complications. When you’ve been under the constant pressure of being the genius, how do you get over a creative block?


Book’s Name - An Abundance of Katherines

Author’s Name - John Green

Genre - Young Adult Fiction

Language - English

Synopsis - Spoiler Alert!

Colin Singleton is a child prodigy who has dated nineteen girls named Katherine, all spelled the same way. Fearing that he will not be able to live up to his expectations of being a genius, he goes in search of his “eureka” moment. 

Once Colin graduates high school, he goes on a road trip with his best and only friend, Hassan Harbish to heal himself from the wounds that Katherine XIX leaving him has left.

This trip takes them to a small town called Gutshot in rural Tennessee, and places them in the lives of Lindsey Lee Wells and her mother, Hollis who offers them a place to stay and a summer job. 

Colin and Lindsey start developing an affinity for one another, but are intercepted by Lindsey’s boyfriend Colin Lyford - also referred to as TOC (the other Colin). This situation, however, soon changes as TOC is unfortunately caught cheating on Lindsey with Hassan’s girlfriend, Katrina.

As Lindsey and Colin start their relationship, he is still trying to find his next genius moment. He is finally successful as he concocts a theorem called the “Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability” that helps determine the curve and length of any relationship. But it may soon backfire on him while the theorem makes a judgement on his present relationship.

About the Author

John Michael Green was born on 24th August, 1977 in Indianapolis and is one of the world’s most popular young adult writers. He is most widely known for his fourth solo novel, The Fault in Our Stars (2012), which went on to be made into an extremely successful film in 2014, directed by Josh Boone, starring Shailene Woodley (Hazel) and Ansel Elgort (Augustus).

His debut novel, Looking for Alaska (2005) received the 2006 Printz Award and went on to become a drama series on Hulu in 2019, created by Josh Schwartz. Some of his other solo novels include Paper Towns (2008) and Turtles All The Way Down (2017). 

Moreover, John is also a YouTube content creator for his channel Vlogbrothers, along with his brother Hank, where they have created a total of 11 online series.

About the Book

An Abundance of Katherines is John Green’s second solo novel, published on 21st September, 2006 by Dutton and Speak. It was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book as well as one of American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults.

The novel includes a lot of complex equations that the protagonist, Colin Singleton uses. To explain them, there is an appendix in the novel prepared by one of John Green’s close friends, Daniel Bliss. Though there have been talks of a movie adaptation, there have been no concrete hopes for fans after the first attempt was abandoned. 

Learning Outcomes

While the novel is quite entertaining, it also leaves readers with a lot to think about. Throughout the novel, Colin is constantly chasing after being memorable and remarkable. But this goose chase has kept him anxious and away from things that truly matter in life. Colin finally learns to let go and live life for all that it is.

Lindsey is someone who always has her guard up. She’s in a not-very-pleasant relationship with a person who doesn’t treat her right. By inviting Colin to her cave, she finally lets him into her life without any barriers. While it takes immense courage to do that, John Green knows that it’s the right way to go!

Famous Quotes

  1. “You can never love someone as much as you miss them.”

  2. “You don't remember what happened. What you remember becomes what happened.”

  3. “I don't think your missing pieces ever fit inside you again once they go missing.”

  4. “What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable?”

  5. “Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”

The Bottom Line

An Abundance of Katherines is a book that might not keep you on your toes, but is sure to make you think deeper about the people in your life. Though it is filled with physics algorithms, it is indeed an uncomplicated read.

My ratings for the book - 3.5 on 5

You can buy a copy from Amazon - An Abundance of Katherines

Written By - Kristi Mazumdar

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