Tag Archives: John Green

An Abundance of Katherines

abundance katherinesColin Singleton, the hero of John Green‘s An Abundance of Katherines, is a dumpee. Time and again, 19 times in fact, he’s been dumped. Every time this prodigy, who’s just graduated high school, has been dumped by a girl named Katherine. He developed his penchant for Katherine’s when he was 8. Some “relationships” lasted minutes, some months. Losing Katherine XIX devastated him. Thus to shake off this bad feeling whiz kid Colin and his friend Hassan take to the road in Colin’s jalopy, which he calls Hearse

The story is clever and I enjoyed Colin, Hassan and Lindsay. Yet I was so keenly aware of Green’s cleverness that I never got lost in the book. I was always aware that Green was telling a story. It’s quite clever, though far from realistic. The boys drive to a small town in Tennessee where they meet Lindsay, who’s a beautiful woman, their age, who is a tour guide for the Archduke Ferdinand’s burial site. Before you know it, Colin and Hassan are working for Lindsay’s mother and living in their pink mansion. The boys must interview old folks for an oral history of Gunshot, Tennessee. While they’re in Gunshot, hanging out and working, Colin has time to figure out an equation that can predict how long a relationship will last and which party will dump the other.

There’s a lot of banter and interesting esoteric remarks. It’s a fast read, and I liked that the cover shown above was designed by a reader. In fact, it’s a lot better than the professionally designed earlier covers, if you ask me. The novel’s end is rather pat and predictable. Still it’s a decent book.

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Posted by on April 28, 2013 in American Lit, contemporary, YA


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John Green on the Boston Marathon Bombing

John Green comments on Flags and Helpers in light of the bombing.

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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in writers, YA


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Paper Towns

I discovered John Green through his Vlog Brothers’ videos on You Tube. His video on The Great Gatsby led me to Bookfighters’ YouTube channel where Green’s Paper Towns was mentioned. The video convinced me to add Paper Towns to my reading list and I’m glad I did.

I did like Paper Towns, especially the last chapter, but it wasn’t as good as I expected. I think Green’s assessment of Gatsby was so trenchant that I expected Fitzgerald level writing. His writing is good and very much like his patter on Vlog Brothers. The patter that wows in a YouTube video can tire in a novel.

Paper Towns centers around Quentin, a.k.a. Q, a smart, geeky teen who’s smitten with Margo Roth Spielgelman, the dream girl next door. As kids, Q and Margo lived in each others pockets. Now in high school Margo, who sees the superficiality and fakery of life in Orlando, inhabits the social stratosphere, while Q lives on the margins with his geeky friends, Radar and Ben.

The first part of the book follows Quentin and Margo on a late night series of vengeful adventures and pranks. Margo’s pure energy and sarcasm. He’s tailing along as she exacts creative revenge from her cheating boyfriend and frenemies.

The next day, Quentin hopes he and Margo can now be friends or more than friends. At least she should acknowledge him at school. Yet part two takes readers in a different direction. Margo disappears. Since she’s over 18, the police can’t launch a search. She’s run off before and her callus parents don’t take any action, in fact they change their locks. So Quentin hunts for her picking up the esoteric, poetic clues she’s left like bread crumbs. The big question is whether she’s still alive.

If I were in a book club, my first questions to discuss would be: Do you think Margo is a narcissist? Was she worth saving? Is she a 21st century Daisy Buchanan?

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Posted by on July 8, 2012 in American Lit, contemporary, fiction, YA


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