Apologies for not posting on Monday. A family member of mine passed away on Sunday night. He had been very sick, so it wasn’t at all a shock, but I was not at all in the right frame of mind to post anything. Which is probably understandable.
Today I’ll be reviewing two John Green books that I read on Sunday. I’m reviewing them both together because a) it’s easier, b) there are a lot of similarities, and c) I’m getting a bit of a backlog of books to review, so doing two at a time makes sense.
For both of these books, I had higher expectations than I did for Paper Towns and The Fault In Our Stars, because I hadn’t heard any of the hype for these two than I did for those two. That makes absolutely no sense. Basically, I had extremely high expectations for TFIOS and PT because of all the hype, but I was also pretty certain that they wouldn’t live up to my expectations. For AAOK and LFA, I hadn’t heard any of the hype, so my expectations were based purely off of the opinions my friends had shared with me and my own opinion based on the blurbs etc.
I really butchered that.
Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.
On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.
This book lived up to my expectations more than the first two John Green books I read. To me, it had a bit more to it than those other two. I liked the quirks about it – the anagrams and the footnotes. I liked the maths, and how that was all incorporated. Although I really don’t think that coming up with a formula like that would be possible, but it’s a nice idea. And despite the unbelievability of the dating-19-Katherines thing (because the chance of one person knowing that many Katherines with their names spelt that same way isn’t very high), I actually kind of loved it. Especially when it is all explained. But maybe I’m just a romantic.
I enjoyed reading about all of the different characters, and how they developed and changed. There were things about them that I didn’t appreciate, but I’ll talk about those later. Right now, let’s just say that they were good characters, in my opinion.
If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll know that predicting the endings of books is a big issue for me. Did that happen? Partially. There was one aspect in particular that I definitely saw coming, but there were others that surprised me, which was nice.
Sounds like I’m giving a pretty good review, right? Mmm, not quite the case. But, as my issues with this one and Looking For Alaska were basically the same, I’ll talk about that after this next review.
Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same.
Alrighty. What’d I like? Same as with the other one, I preferred it to the first two. Not sure why, really. Maybe I just have something engrained in me to dislike the thing that is cool at that time. I don’t know. Anyways, so I enjoyed it. Maybe not quite as much as the other one, but at the same time, slightly more. I think the Katherines one was lighter, which was nice and I enjoyed, while this one was slightly deeper, which was also good.
Again, I quite liked the characters. There were a couple in particular that I really liked reading about, although I’m not entirely sure why. It’s the same way that we gravitate towards certain types of people. Some characters we just like without reason.
As for predictability, I had an inkling about what was going to happen. I think it was kind of floating at the back of my mind, although I wasn’t too certain about it or too focused on it. I didn’t really find myself thinking about it while I was reading. So there was still a bit of an element of surprise.
Here comes the negatives.
The language, the drinking, and the nature of some of the scenes and conversations repulsed me.
COME ON, PEOPLES! NOT EVERY BOOK NEEDS TO HAVE SWEARING AND SEX!
I’m sick and tired of reading books containing that kind of thing. It makes the book less enjoyable on a huge scale. And John Green, even if you change the spelling, we still know exactly what you are saying when you use that word twice in every sentence. It still has the exact same effect.
I have this mental rating scale in my mind. I enjoy a book a lot more if I’d feel comfortable recommending it to my brother.
I have a younger brother, who is 14. I still think of him as much younger, and a lot more innocent than me, meaning that he hasn’t been exposed to the kind of thing that I was talking about before. I’m sure that’s probably not true, but in my mind it is. So when I’m reading a book, I will enjoy it a lot more if I knew that I’d be comfortable with him reading it. If the idea of that repulses me; if the image of my brother reading a certain scene makes me want to snatch the book off him and give him a teddy bear, then I won’t enjoy it very much.
Where do these fall on that scale? If I see him reading these books anytime soon, I’ll be taking them from him and setting him down in front of a nice cartoon. Probably Blue’s Clues or something along those lines.
Actually, that’s something to keep in mind when you write, I think. Would you be comfortable with someone younger than you (but old enough to read that book/genre) reading the things you are writing about? It could be a younger sibling or cousin or something. I don’t know. But that’s something to keep in mind.
There’s my somewhat random thoughts on An Abundance Of Katherines and Looking For Alaska. Basically, both were very good, plot wise and character wise, in my opinion, but I’d only recommend them if you are comfortable with lots of foul language, drinking, and somewhat descriptive sex scenes. Read at your own discretion.