✨📖 An Abundance of Katherines (2006) by John Green 📖✨
John Green was big when I was in high school and I even followed his YouTube channel for a long time. Back then, I had picked up a book of his that – much like many a book I picked up in high school – I never got to reading. Following my most recent experiment of tracking my spending habits, I decided against buying a new book before finishing up all the unread ones I have at home.
Enter John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines.
For the first 95% of the book, I could see why I had picked it up in 👶 high school 👶. The book is definitely for a younger audience, as it features nerdy, angsty and sometimes cringy high school graduates Colin and Hassan as they navigate heartbreaks and summer before college. The story is alright, but truth be told, John Green’s writing comes off a little “dAd TrYiNg tO bE HiP wItH tHe hIp KidZ”. Nonetheless, overall, I will say it was an enjoyable read. I just think I would’ve enjoyed it more had I read it as a high schooler myself.
The story centers around Colin, a Jewish prodigy that has a streak of dating girls named Katherine and a streak of being dumped by them. The nineteenth Katherine dumps him as the story starts. The rest of the story revolves around Colin, and his best friend Hassan’s, and their summer adventures in Gutshot, Tennessee*.
Hassan is a chubby Muslim side kick who has postponed going to college and who always uses humor as a defense mechanism. Even when he (spoiler alert!) discovers his new girlfriend cheating on him, he results to making jokes of the situation.
In the end, he has a revelation – and this is the 5% of the book that really made it worth it for me. His jokester persona is just an extension of his otherwise lazy college-postponing self. It is easier for him to crack jokes at other people’s ideas and initiatives, because he doesn’t have any of his own. Now, I thought this to be quite sweet of a message, and one I want to emphasize on as well.
If you – dear reader – have ever held back from doing something, or starting something new, due to the fear of backlash or people commenting on it … take Hassan’s word to heart, and don’t fret it too much! As long as you’re doing something that you want to do, you’re doing something and adding to the world. Anyone who ridicules that isn’t adding anything themselves.
As someone who has also always held back from starting a blog, due to the fear of “how it might look” or “what others might think”, I came to find out that doing something is actually easier than we anticipate it to be. So, if you’ve had a project in mind, but you were holding back for whatever reason, take this as a cosmic sign. Just do it**.
*While writing this, I did a quick search to see if Gutshot, Tennessee is a real place. Turns out, it is. One click led to another, and I came to read that this book is banned in some libraries in the United States for featuring sexual content. LOL! That’s one way to drive sales and make an otherwise plain story sound controversial.
**I hate that you can’t say that anymore without just thinking of Nike. Great marketing.