“An Abundance of Katherines”

Green, John, narrated by Jeff Woodman.  An Abundance of Katherines.  Grand Haven: Brilliance Audio, 2006.  Audio.

Borrowed from the Cedar Falls Public Library.

Listened to between January 24, and February 5, 2013.

3.75 out of five stars.

An Abundance of Katherines

Nerd alert: “An Abundance of Katherines” is chock full of word puzzles, informative tangents, clarifying footnotes, foreign language utterances and (shudder) math.  If these literary devices bother you, steer clear.

“An Abundance of Katherines” was assigned for my Resources for Young Adults course (and is one of the very few relatively current publications we are reading this semester).  I’ll admit, the title intrigued me despite its mathematical appearance and without knowing anything about the plot.  Also, (are you sitting down), “AAoK” is the one that finally popped my John Green cherry.  I know, shocking…my very first John Green book. I promise to read “Looking for the Fault in Our Paper Alaskan Towns” as soon as I escape the hell* that is graduate school.  I chose to listen to this mainly because there weren’t many of my assigned readings that were readily available in audio.  I realize now I may have missed some of Green’s stylistic intentions by not having the print copy**, however I really enjoyed Jeff Woodman’s performance.  He was able to pronounce all the different languages (12, I believe) far better than I could have and convincingly pulled off a jaw-less octogenarian Tennessean.  Also, kudos to Brilliance Audio for multiple short tracks and announcing the end of each disc.  Nothing is more frustrating when listening to an audio book than having to go back a full 6 minutes because you missed the last 30 seconds, or restarting the disc without realizing (not that I have done that or anything).

As the title suggests, “An Abundance of Katherines” is about an excess of x-chromosomal-owning exes who all have one thing in common: Colin Singleton.  Colin, a one-time child prodigy (not to be confused with genius) has been dumped by the latest of 19 girls who all answer to the name “Katherine”.  Along with his friend Hassan (a slightly overweight Arab and Judge Judy aficionado) they set out on a road trip aimed at mending Colin’s broken heart.  Upon their arrival in Gutshot, TN the pair meets Lindsey, heiress to a tampon string manufacturing plant who happens to be dating a hillbilly heart throb named (wait for it…) Colin.  What follows is an endearing coming of age story that Green tells in his trademark conversational style, chock full of self-deprecating humor and wit.  “An Abundance of Katherines” is lighthearted, fun and upbeat, populated by memorable (and surprisingly well developed) characters that are sure to elicit laughs and the occasional poignant thought.

*It’s not really that bad.

**I am currently listening to “Wintergirls” by Laurie Halse Anderson.  Another probably-should-have-been-read-in-print-but-the-audio-was-available-so-I-took-it selection.  Time spent in my car is unfortunately plentiful so I listen to whatever books I can.