An Abundance of Katherines is the second book by John Green that I have read, and whilst I enjoyed the novel, I can't help but feel that just maybe reading The Fault in Our Starts first has spoiled the John Green literary experience for me.
The Fault in Our Stars is a groundbreaking triumph of young adult writing and even now, months after its release, TFiOS is a deserving number one on the New York Times Bestseller List.
An Abundance of Katherines failed to engage me in the way that TFiOS did.
For an unlucky-in-love male protagonist, Colin Singleton is a cliché. He is harsh, cruel, single-minded, snobby, self-indulgent and remains this way for the majority of the book - his character arc resolves him far too late in the story for me, as the reader, to feel on Colin's side. Colin uses superior intelligence and superior insecurity as reasons to downright whinge about the state of his life. When reading from a perspective where personal experience has seen problems of greater significance than 'I didn't read my designated 300 pages today, and being single is a bit rubbish', I have little sympathy for Colin and therefore little impetus to read on.
Though I am glad I did. In the novel's last third, John Green deals with breaking bad romantic cycles, moving on with life, collective responsibility, the notion of community and the trivial nature of relationships during youth. Colin is redeemed, and all is well - a satisfying, if not predictable ending.
Whilst Colin Singleton is no Hazel Grace Lancaster, John Green's writing style is nearing perfection and his innovative use of footnotes in narrative adds a much needed to quirk to subsidize a lacking plot.
All in all, Katherines was enjoyable, but by no means an extraordinary read. Whilst TFiOS conveyed such raw emotion, Katherines’ moral seems diluted in comparison, but not quite bland enough to dissuade me of John Green's immeasurable talent for conveying hope through the English language.
Roll on Looking for Alaska.