About the audiobook: AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES is definitely a story that works better in physical book format rather than as an audiobook. The book is full of diagrams, formulas and other mathematical equations that make much more sense when looked at rather than listened to. It is for this reason alone that I recommend you read this one, rather than listen to it.
Even still, the narrator, Jeff Woodman, is one of my favorite audiobook readers. He is also the reader for John Green’s LOOKING FOR ALASKA, and is a familiar voice within many other audiobooks. Among his other credits are the works of Jonathan Safran Foer and The Invention of Hugo Cabret. As a reader, Jeff has a way of filling each character with personality. In particular, I commend him for the sweet southern accent he gave to the character, Lindsey, within this book. He knows when to pause for dramatic effect, and when to be serious in order to pack a greater emotional punch. His witty sarcasm is perfect for any John Green novel and I plan to continue looking for his works.
About the story: Perhaps I am too much of a Big Bang Theory fan girl, but honestly, if one could put the TV show into book format, and then throw in the small town sensibilities of the deep south, divided by all the quirkiness of a good road trip novel, AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES would be the result of that equation. If you’re familiar with John Green, you will recognize his signature writing style in this book, a book that precedes THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by half a dozen years. I remind you that trying to compare the two works from the get-go would be a great mistake.
AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES is a whimsical, road-trip romp that follows two young self-proclaimed prodigies (cough-nerds-cough), one of which is fresh out of a relationship with his 19th girlfriend named Katherine. With a name like Colin, and a personality compares to that of the founder of Facebook mixed with Sheldon from the aforementioned television show, it’s a wonder that he managed to reel in that many ladies with the same name (“K” NOT “C”). The book is sprinkled with formulas, algorithms, and other scientific/mathematical diagrams, yet somehow Mr. Green manages to make them work within his story.
At the start of the book Colin’s best friend (who is *so* Raj, again from Big Bang Theory) convinces him that heading out for a summer road trip is somehow a great idea. They are held up early on in their trip in a small southern town called Gutshot, Tennessee. There, Colin meets a girl who is definitely not a Katherine. She couldn’t possibly fit in his equation… right? I adored the character, Lindsey, and her carefree “to heck with it” lifestyle is one that I admire. I love her sense of humor, in fact… Yup, she’s Penny. (Big Bang Theory again, I know. I need to shut up now.)
Slipping back and forward between Colin’s relationships with all nineteen Katherines and the road trip, AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES is a surprisingly touching and slightly bittersweet read. As a study of small-town Southern living alone, it deserves 5 stars. In the end, the story makes you realize that sometimes life can’t be plotted out according to diagrams or routines. Sometimes you have to let life just… be… And sometimes the greatest possibilities are discovered within the unknown.
AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES is a quick and unforgettable read. I recommend it to road trip addicts, fans of southern-based stories, and would-be prodigies far and wide.