Selasa, 05 November 2013

An Abundance of Katherines

Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Publisher: SPEAK
Year published: 2006
Pages: 229 (not including John Green's Q&A and an excerpt of The Fault in Our Stars)
Price: USD 9.49 at Book Depository

When it comes to girls (and in Colin's case, it so often did), everyone has a type. Colin Singleton's type was not physical but linguistic: he liked Katherines. And not Katies or Kats or Kitties or Cathys or Rynns or Trinas or Kays or Kates or, God forbid, Catherines. K-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E. He had dated nineteen girls. All of them had been named Katherine. And all of them--every single solitary one--had dumped him.

Colin Singleton was a child prodigy.  It means he could memorize things that interested him and process any difficult mathematics formulas better than any normal person could. That's why he was so good in remembering history, making anagram, and making mathematics theorem. However, he's not a genius (for the difference between prodigy and genius, you have to read it by yourself in the book). Although being a prodigy can be categorized as "special", what happened to Colin was beyond it. Because no other prodigy had dated 19 girls named Katherine like him. And got dumped by all of them also.

After the 19th times, Colin felt devastated.  He then started to make this theory about Katherine to predict how long his future relationship would last. His best friend, Hassan, then asked him to have a road trip to mend his broken heart and Colin accepted it.

On their road trip, Colin found a hand-painted billboard: "EXIT 212-SEE THE GRAVE OF ARCHDUKE FRANZ FERDINAND-THE CORPSE THAT STARTED WORLD WAR I." Feeling curious, Colin and Hassan went to Gutshot, Tennessee, and met Lindsey Lee Wells, who guided them to the grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Long story short, Colin and Hassan ended up in Lindsey's pink mansion and got a summer job. Her mother, Hollis, who had a tampon string factory (yes, tampon), hired Colin and Hassan to do the  interview with people in Gutshot.

So many new things happened in Gutshot. But Colin couldn't stop thinking about Katherine and tried so hard to complete his theorem. Until he realized that maybe his memory was not as accurate as he thought it was..

What would happen next to Colin and his theory of Katherines?
Okay, so I have to tell you first that I am a fan of total absurd stories where the main characters have to face ridiculous and stupid situations, even though in the end I don't really know what the story is actually about. The perfect example for this is Bubble Boy, a movie starred by Jake Gyllenhaal. Have any of you watched it? It was totally absurd. And for Indonesian, I can say it's Kwaliteit 2 by Dennis Adhiswara. I don't know why, I just enjoyed my ROFL moment when I saw movies like that. So when I read An Abundance of Katherines, I enjoyed every page of it. So much.

This book is actually about a boy who struggle to find who he truly is. Colin, from the beginning of his life, had been labelled as prodigy from his childhood years and he lived under people's expectation of him doing something big in the future. When it turned out that after graduating high school he had almost nothing (no social life, being dumped constantly by 19 girls named Katherine), he felt devastated. Hassan, on the other hand, was totally opposite from Colin. He lived without any expectation from his mother except to be a good Moslem, which he interpreted as doing nothing, so that he could do no wrong. The friendship of Colin and Hassan actually balanced them but no friendship can be proven as strong enough if it has never been tested, which is happened in the road trip.

I think John Green wrote this story brilliantly. The way he described Colin's way of thinking and Hassan's way of thinking for me is so realistic. Well, it's true that in some parts maybe it is too harsh and some religion maybe feel humiliated, but back to its closeness to reality, things like that can happen. Not only the main characters, Colin and Hassan, John Green also put enough details to every supporting characters, including the 19 Katherines, which made them realistic and also made the readers feel connected to them easily.

The storyline is also unique. Okay, I know that stories about road trip have been written a lot and what happened to Colin and Hassan might have also been written by any other YA authors. But the way John Green wrote it was so ridiculous and fun and beyond my expectation. And as I have said before, I love ridiculous stories. So yeah.. it fits my taste. Just as simple as that.

This is the first John Green's book that I read and I also already had a copy of The Fault in Our Stars. If he continues writing like this, I will no doubt put him on my Favorite Authors List.

 If you think you have similar taste like me, you can try to read this.

6 komentar:

  1. Hmm, what a unique theme. So, which one do you prefer? TFIOS or this one?

    I've read TFIOS, and was quite impressed, and I think this book sounds promising.

    1. I haven't read TFIOS although I've already had the book. Still on a queue. Can't wait to read it though because I like John Green's writing.

  2. I've read few first pages of Looking For Alaska and it's mind-blowing! He has a unique writing. Can't wait to read the rest. Unfortunately, I have TFiOS in bahasa :((

    1. Looking for Alaska is one of John Green's book that I am curious to read too! Waiting for your review :)
      Well, I can't comment about the quality of the translated book since I haven't read both the original and translated and in some books (for example Julia Quinn books) I found that the translated one is easier to understand than the original one and quite successful in transferring the emotion to the readers too. Rare case though..
      Aanyway... so waiting for your review for both books. Hehe

  3. TFIOS itu buku pertama yg aku baca dari John Green, dan aku suka banget buku itu meskipun pas re-read 'feel'nya udah beda. Kedua, Looking for Alaska, yg unpredictable tapi agak kurang sesuai ekspektasi. Yang ketiga, Abundance of Katherines ini....yg aku bahkan nggak bisa nyelesein baca bukunya :| Entah kenapa, Kak. Buat aku malah ke-ridiculousness itu yg bikin aku mikir, "Ini apaan sih?" Heuheu mungkin karena emang aku cocoknya baca yg ringan-ringan aja kali ya......

    Tapi John Green tetep jadi salah satu penulis favorit aku karena personalitynya! Kalo liat video-video atau gif-gif kayaknya orangnya asyik & cerdas banget :)

    1. Kamu pasti ga suka nonton film-film Stephen Chow ya? *kenape jadi Stephen Chow????*

      Btw emang sih aku juga ngerasa bingung pas baca buku ini. Tapi pas udah selesai baca lalu merenung *halah* baru terasa pesannya cukup bagus dan relevan dengan kehidupan sehari-hari walau cara penyampaiannya ribet. Haha.

      Mungkin emang perlu sabar bacanya sih..


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