If you had the opportunity to devise a theorem that could correctly predict the outcome of a romantic relationship, would you do it? If it worked, would you use it? Can it even be done? This is the problem plaguing Colin Singleton, recent high school graduate, nearly-former child prodigy, hopeful genius. Colin, you see, has a significant problem. He falls in love quite easily, which in and of itself isn't such a bad thing. The fact that all of his loves, nineteen of them to be exact, have been named Katherine can even be explained away by some form of twisted scientific method. What can't be explained, though, is why
Colin has been dumped by all nineteen of those Katherines.
When he's dumped by the love of his life, Katherine XIX, he finds himself in a bad place. He can no longer call himself a child prodigy, since he's graduated from high school. He's not a genius, because he's never come up with anything that will change the world. There's an empty place inside of him where his latest Katherine's love used to live, and he doesn't know what to do with himself. Until Hassan Harbish (Muslim, but not a terrorist) devises a way to get Colin out of his funk--a road
trip. With no destination in mind, the two set off in The Hearse, Colin's car, and go where the road leads them.
Where it leads them is a small town called Gutshot, Tennessee, where Colin gets the urge to see the supposed grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. It's also where the two meet Lindsey Lee Wells and her mother, Hollis. Not to mention where they get to live in a giant Pepto Bismol-pink house on a hill, interview employees of a factory that makes tampon strings, and eat Monster Thickburgers at the local Hardees.
It's also the place where Colin decides to finish the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability. Assign numerical value to different variables, plot it on a graph, and you'll be able to predict how long a relationship will last--and who will be the dumper, and who will be the dumpee. Except Colin forgot some pertinent information, like chance, and distorted memories, and the fact that love is never predictable. As Colin and Hassan learn a few things about life in the small town of Gutshot, we get to follow their journey of learning to grow up, to make a name for yourself, and how to matter as a person.
I loved AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES, even more than Mr. Green's previous book, LOOKING FOR ALASKA. That book won the prestigious Michael L. Printz award, and I won't be surprised if this book is nominated, as well. This
story is funny, poignant, and informative. For example, if I hadn't read AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES I would never have known that:
1) Fetor hepaticus is a symptom of late-stage liver failure where your breath literally smells like a rotting corpse.
2) The junior senator from New Hampshire in 1873 was Bainbridge Wadleigh.
3) There is absolutely no scientific proof that drinking eight glasses of water a day will improve your health.
4) Dingleberries can be anagrammed into see inbred girl; lie breeds grin; leering debris; greed be nil, sir; be idle re. rings; ringside rebel; and residing rebel.
5) Nikola Tesla did a lot for electricity before Thomas Edison came along and stole some of his ideas, and he also loved pigeons.
6) I still suck at math.
Order this book today. It's great, you'll love it, and you'll actually learn stuff. Three for the price of one!
Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"