So...after the whole "John Green, you make me cry ugly tears! Why would you do that! AND thank you!" thing, I decided to keep reading John Green books. I'm a glutton for punishment. I emailed a friend after I checked An Abundance of Katherines out of the library: I am nervous/excited that it will be the same amount of pain as Looking for Alaska. I press on timidly. But with great hope.
Because when you read John Green, it's not if there will be tears, but when.
Colin Singleton has dated 19 Katherines...and has been dumped 19 times. Colin, a child prodigy, feels he's peaked too soon and is looking for meaning to his life. And if he could just figure out why he keeps getting dumped...well, that would help a lot. He takes his best friend, his beat up car and all the money he has and goes on a road trip to find himself...whatever that actually means.
I'm not an expert on John Green books, but so far they are coming of age stories. Figuring out who you are as a person, what you like, what you don't like, how you handle intense emotional situations, how you grow. I hesitate on this next sentence...but it's very Holden Caulfield. Except, if you know me, I hate Holden Caulfield. What I love about John Green is his characters feel more real. To me, Holden was an angry, spoiled dude who swore too much and didn't take time to understand other people. But Colin...Colin is different. He is the nerdy geek in all of us who, no matter how hard he tries, just can't fit in. He understands that he is different and fine with it, but at times, life is just too confusing. Is he a washed up, has been child prodigy?
Maybe instead of bringing up Holden Caulfield and one of my second most hated book of young adult literature (the prize belongs to Lord of the Flies. Or maybe it's actually a tie for first place...) I should have just called this book a coming of age story. Or to let you all know that I really did pay attention in my critical literature & young adult literature classes, it is a bilsdungroman. That's right, I'm breaking out the German vocab! It's a coming of age story, simply put, and it's beautiful. It's a story about love and loss, heartbreak and healing and trying to make sense of the ever changing world around you. Well, as best you can when you are a washed up child prodigy, newly graduated from high school, who has just been dumped by your nineteenth Katherine.
PS If you haven't figured out that I think John Green is pretty cool, well, just stay tuned. I just got two more of his books from the library: Paper Towns & Will Grayson, Will Grayson. So either get ready to tune the next few posts out, or get on the bandwagon!