Monday, 29 July 2013

Book #3: An Abundance of Katherines.

As I sit here, the wind whistling violently through the gap under my bedroom door and the remnants of a cup of coffee perched beside me, I think I'm experiencing too many emotions all at once. With a too-heavy copy of Norton's Anthology of English Literature placed offensively in front of me, I feel the guilt welling up inside of me like a dormant little monster. But then, I realise where my interests lie, and forget all of that, as I've just finished reading another one of John Green's masterpieces. This time, it's AAOK, or, as it is formally published, An Abundance of Katherines. A title that speaks a thousand words. It really couldn't have been christened anything else. My supposedly guilt-ridden shoulders were, just a few hours previous, practically hugging my Kindle, the home of so many of my latest reads, including the latest, AAOK.

This being the fourth of five John Green books I would have read, I was excited, yet kind of nervous. My expectations were very high, the bar had already been set, and I was terribly afraid that a man whose writing I had come to love may just plummet in expectations, as soon as these pages began to be flicked through. However, to my utmost pleasure, I was wrong. At first, I struggled to get into it, as I was far too preoccupied with this novel living up to my skyscraper-like expectations, that I momentarily forgot how to just disappear into a story, get emotionally attached to the characters, and experience a journey through a new set of eyes. Once I'd got past my own awkwardness, An Abundance of Katherines was everything I wanted it to be. I have this theory, that every John Green book is the same yet different. There's always something new brought to the table. While each one of his novels combines emotion with astounding characters and a great deal of cold-hard-reality, (a bit like Kevin Brooks, yet not as brutal) each one has something that a previous lacks. That is, not to say, that I believe, any of Green's books 'lack' a sense of je ne sais quoi. (Sorry, I just had to interject that to prove to myself that my French failure of an A-level was not, despite my results, a total flop!)

Anyway, what I'm trying, and somewhat failing at explaining is, that in my opinion, John Green's books are in some ways, worlds apart, yet still interlinked. There are aspects of Alaska Young echoed in Margo, and Augustus Waters and Colin Singleton may possibly become friends in another life. While all of his characters go on both physical and emotional journeys, perhaps none as much so as the protagonist in my latest read. Colin Singleton, (yes names are very significant here) has had a history of past girlfriends, aptly all named, yes, you've guessed it, Katherine. Coincidental, funny and down-right amusing, Colin's journey to, and from, Chicago, his former life, and the emotions he is constantly tied down by, is one never short of humour or interest to readers. A very likeable, surprisingly relatable character, Colin echoes Ross Geller, with his almost-unbelievable chain of divorces, and the loathsome self-pity that somehow translates into hilarity.

I can't actually say much about this book, I don't want to spoil it for anyone. It's yet another piece of Green's brilliant writing. The dialogue never fails to be witty, and it is probably one of the most intelligently written books I've discovered in a long time. I'll keep this brief, so, just pick it up. You'll be pleasantly surprised, and take note, there are morals to this story unlike any other.

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