Out of all the John Green books I’ve read (and mind you, I’ve read ALL of them) this was the only book that left me feeling happy. It had the most beautiful ending and after reading various YA novels that end with the death of a character I liked, I was extremely cheerful after reading this one.
There isn’t any denying on how unique the whole concept of this book is. I don’t think there is any other YA novel based on a prodigy who dates nineteen Katherines and tries to come up with a really complicated math formula to predict relationships.
Now to someone amateur in math, like myself, the first few pages on the formula might discourage them to continue reading the book. But I think you should just keep reading and there will be a point in the book – no matter how mathematically challenged you are – when you will finally understand the formula and you will have your Hallelujah moment much before Colin does.
Spoiler Alert: much after you have figured out the formula and you are starting to think that Colin is in fact not a prodigy but a genius you will find out that the formula does not work. I’m not going to blame John Green on deciding on that because if he’d decided to make the formula work in the book, he’d probably have to sit and make the formula work in reality. And if you see Crash Course, you’d know that he does not like math.
It’s okay John, I’m not a fan of math either except when it comes to triangles. I like triangles.
Anyway, moving on from the whole math part of the book, let’s get to the characters:
There’s always this one thing that I find common in almost all of John Green’s books and that is that his protagonist always wants to matter to the world. Besides this undeniable similarity I always seem to find the book extremely interesting.
Colin is a child prodigy who really badly want to become a genius. He’s really smart and all, has a computer compatible memory and is really really good at math, but still he is not satisfied with his incredible intellectual. He wants to be like Einstein or Mario Curie and invent or discover something. He wants to win the Nobel Prize (come on, everyone does) and most of all he want his last ex girlfriend, K19, back.
Hassan Harbish is the only friend Colin has ever had before he went to Gutshot. He’s overweight, infatuated by Judge Judy and lazier than a cat after drinking lots of milk. But he goddamned funny and that’s why I really like him. Besides his physical faults, he said to be really charismatic and affable.
Then there is Lindsey Lee Wells who is the tiny and cute girl Colin and Hassan meet in Gutshot. Now she’s the polar opposite of Colin, she doesn’t want to matter to the world and she just wants to stay in Gutshot (a small town in southern Tennessee which no one except the people who’ve read An Abundance of Katherines have heard of). I like her too, even though she can be a little extreme sometimes; but all beautiful characters have flaws. She was probably my favorite character in the book because I could really relate myself to her.
Except these three main characters there are various other characters like the 19 Katherines (Colin never gets together with K19 by the way) and the second Colin (who used to be Lindsey’s boyfriend until he broke her heart by cheating on her with Katarina)and various other people living in Gutshot, TN.
In the end – to my delight – Colin ends up with Lindsey (they make such an adorable pair) and Colin’s streak of dating Katherines ends and Lindsey’s streak of dating Colins start. Now the ending isn’t very conclusive with many questions unanswered but this way the reader can imagine their own endings from the details provided by the author. The ending I imagine is pretty happy because let’s face it, no matter how sadistic human beings are, they are a sucker for happy endings.