Saturday, February 28, 2015

An Abundance of Katherines // Book Review


So I finished An Abundance of Katherines. (all except the Appendix because math)
I'm sorry to say that I wasn't impressed.



Don't start throwing books at me, though, please? I still think John Green is a genius. I still relatively enjoyed reading the book. But compared to Looking For Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, this book just doesn't measure up. And maybe it's unfair to judge a book based on the author. Okay. But another thing that gets me is that this is a Printz Honor book...an award that I hold in high esteem...but I don't think it is as good as Printz books usually are.

I mean, The Book Thief won a Printz Honor the same year that this book did. 

Then again, Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging was also a Printz Honor book and I pretty much hated it. So maybe awards aren't the best way to judge books, either.

So, my problems with this book:

1) There really wasn't much of a plot. 
It was there, but minuscule. Like a tiny hill instead of a mountain.

2) I didn't connect with any of the characters.
I just...didn't. I'm glad they weren't stereotypical, but I had no feelings at all towards them. I honestly didn't care what happened to them.

3) All of the lingo got on my nerves.
OH MY GOODNESS STOP SAYING FUG AND JUST SAY THE REAL WORD ALREADY.
Look, I know teenagers really talk like this. But I don't want to read it. And it wasn't just this one word...it was a whole mess of them. (This is also why I can't read Mark Twain--I hate trying to translate dialects and slang and abbreviations.)
They identified three side-characters by acronyms that they made up. (TOC, JATT, and SOCT)
I thought it was funny how he identified his ex-Katherines like monarchs (ex. Katherine XIX) but sometimes they were identified like K-19 and the inconsistency drove me crazy.
And the list goes on.

4) I thought Colin's Theorem was stupid.
It was basically all he was concerned with throughout 95% of the book, but I really, really did not care about it. Creating a formula that could map your past relationships? Why would anyone care about that? And thinking that it could predict future relationships is ridiculous.

5) The conclusion was disappointing.
After everything he has gone through...this big road trip, meeting all these new people, developing his Theorem, finding out truths about himself and the world around him, etc., the conclusion (or his big "eureka" moment that the book has been leading up to) is that

the future is unpredictable
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Now, I know I tend to judge books harshly, so I don't want you to think that this was the worst book I've ever read. It wasn't. There were parts that I really appreciated. I'm glad I read it, even though it wasn't what I wanted it to be, and I don't want to discourage anyone from reading it.

A few things that I did like about the book:

1) Colin wasn't an aspiring writer.
I feel this is really overdone in all novels. I understand because authors tend to write what they are familiar with, and as an author they know what it's like to be a writer. But Colin was a child prodigy that liked languages, anagramming, and worked with math a lot. So at least he was original.

2) The theme was pretty relatable.
Senior in high school not knowing where he's going in life? Yeah, we've all been there. 

3) His friend was Arabic.
I've never read a book with an Arabic character. Most of the time they are just white middle-class Americans. Diversity is good.

4) It had some decent quotes.
Not as many as the other John Green books I've read, but still a good amount. I love quotable books.

So all-in-all, I think it deserves 3/5 stars.


~~~

And in other news...


By the same writers that adapted TFIOS.
Do I look excited? Yes. Yes I do.

Am I extremely worried?
YES.

I always liked the fact that Looking for Alaska wasn't a film. It might be something about the dark cover, the fact that it is John Green's first book (and his only to actually win a Printz Award), or maybe it's because most of what makes the book magical are the feelings captured in the narration. There are so many literary elements that I don't think are capable of being translated to the screen, which means it will simply be another teen-angsty film where something devastating happens. You won't get any of the good stuff.

I'm not saying that all movies have to be driven by an interesting plot instead of literary elements. Some movies--usually the award-winners--balance the two quite well. But film is a different type of art than novels. What makes a novel spectacular is not what is going to make a film spectacular. 

So while I'm excited to see the story come to life, I'm also a bit sad.

~~~

I've now read two.
(I know I'm a really really really slow reader and I hate it.)
Both of which are not even on my list for books to read this year. (No surprise there, really. I like to slyly break my own rules.)


My question for you guys is...which book on my list should I read next?
Or which book that is not on the list should I read next?
I've been thinking Mrs Dalloway, but I'm not sold on it yet.

--Emily
currently listening to: Next Year by Two Door Cinema Club