My first encounter with John Green was through Crash Course a youtube channel that puts out really well made educational videos on subjects ranging from computer science to world history that really made learning fun for me back in school. You could imagine my surprise when one day after finishing a book by the name 'The Fault in Our Stars' [TFIOS] and finding a picture of the author at the end and going "Hey! I know this guy from somewhere!" and another second later, "CRASH COURSE!". I like Green's books, some I've read and some I've heard as audiobooks. Most of his books don't have what you would call the traditional happy ending and I was okay with that and then I read 'An Abundance of Katherines'. Like the previous books I expected this one too, to be a fun book with a not so fairy tale ending. As I was nearing the end of the book, I couldn't help but feel a little unease because everything so far was good and when that's the case it means that in the next few pages lie an impending doom that is going to deliver equal if not greater amounts of pain for every drop of happiness the pages before it had delivered. I was almost sure someone was going to die and was mentally preparing myself for every possible scenario. But the nobody did, for once John Green gave me a happy ending. A happy ending filled with gratitude for the past, joy of the present and hope for the future.
This book to this day remains to be my favorite book of all the books authored by John Green.
The story revolves around Collin Singleton who is your average sheltered child of the 21st century. But unlike most kids he exclusively dates girls named Katherine. He was a child prodigy and like many kids that were 'above average' as kids, was struggling to stay above average as he grew older. He struggles with the idea that he was maybe not that special and that he may never be or feel special ever again. So a typical nerd so obsessed on winning that he forgot to live and cherish the moments that he had. In fact at one point his friend Hassan points out that the reason why he keeps getting dumped might have something to do with his insecurity of being dumped by a Katherine.
Collin like most young people fears the future and it's uncertainty. At the beginning of the story we see him in a quest to build a formula that will let him predict who will dump and will get dumped in a relationship or in short predict the future. In the end we see him realize that the uncertainty of the future is something that makes living so exciting, we see him embrace the uncertainty and run head first to see what the future holds for him.
Hassan his friend like Collin is also comfortable with the uncertainty of future but his reaction however was to not confront it and in a way run away from it. In the end we also see him confront his fears and decides to go to college.
Lindsey is a bit interesting. In the beginning we see her clutch on to the what she had in Gutshot and refusing to pursue anything outside the town because according to her she was content with what she had there. In the end we see her realize that what we humans hold on to as important could be taken away from us so easily and unwarranted and that sometimes some things aren't as great as we make them up to be. In such a scenario it would only be foolish to not wish for something more or explore the unseen.
I think the book helps us readers to think of our lives too. Are we too obsessed on achieving that we forget to live? Are we too scared of the uncertainties that we refuse to move forward? Are we scared of stepping outside the shell's we built for ourselves? It's a good book that will leave you with a smile when you turn the last page. Definitely would recommend.