Monday, August 10, 2015

An Abundance of Katherines: Tasty Soft Serve Ice Cream

It happened at Costco.

I hadn't had breakfast, but I had been eating from the buffet of free samples throughout the store. My blood sugar started to drop and I started making poor decisions, such as picking up a Value Pack of Häagen-Dasz ice cream bars.

It was while I was in my low blood-sugar stupor that I passed the giant pile-o-books near the sweat pants and chocolate bars.

Because this was Costco, the books were all sold in shrink-wrapped Value Packs. On one side of the table there were shrink-wrapped series: Game of Thrones, 50 Shades of Shit, Twilight, Hunger Games; on the other side of the table were books shrink-wrapped by author: John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, John Green.

When I saw the John Green collection I thought, "Hey.. Doesn't everyone love John Green? I wonder why. Wasn't An Abundance of Katherines banned or something? Maybe I should read his stuff." I decided to pick it up, along with a Value Pack of Kinder Bueno Bars so I'd have something to snack on on my way home.

Once I got home and ate something other than a Kinder Bueno bar, I started feeling buyer's remorse. I started wondering who I could gift The Fault in Our Stars to; I really did not feel like reading that book. I was going to read An Abundance of Katherines only because it had been banned, but I had no intention of reading the other two books: Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska (though I did in the end, but that's a different blog post).

Anyways: the book.

It wasn't bad.

I wouldn't say it was the world's best book, or even one of the better books I've ever read, but it was OK.

The plot is that this guy Colin is some kind of genius, but he shows promise without making good on it. He's apparently been dumped by 19 Katherines (hence the title of the book) and is now trying to crack some bizarre mathematical Katherine-heart-winning code to win Katherine #19's heart back. Of course we all know that that isn't going to happen. Some contrivance does happen to get him to go on a road trip and then meet a girl who's boyfriend's name just so happens to also be Colin. The girl is more or less a Manic Pixie Dream Girl with some extra personality and depth of character, and things go on as you'd expect these things to go because this book has all the depth of a shallow wading pool.

Now, that said, it's a pretty cute book. The writing is well-done; it's funny; it's fun. Because it's well-written and the characters are well-developed, you get fairly involved with them, and you start to care for them as deeply as you will ever care for somewhat shallow teen protagonists.

There really is no twist to this book. It's a straight up road-trip-come-romance. There's no deep meaning, no metaphors for anything, and no insights into the human condition. It's basically the equivalent of good quality chocolate-vanilla-swirl soft serve. How this book managed to get banned is entirely beyond me.

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