Ultimately disappointing. If Conescu's intention was to write a book about a really boring main character who tries to ingratiate himself into a groupUltimately disappointing. If Conescu's intention was to write a book about a really boring main character who tries to ingratiate himself into a group of slightly more interesting people and continues to be boring to make the supporting cast seem even more interesting, he succeeded on one of those points. I was mildly interested in what happened to Delia after the novel's ending, but once I closed the book, I lost all interest in her and her collection of equally self-absorbed friends. They all had the glistening potential of being interesting, but Daniel the protagonist sucked them all bone dry. Now I can't even remember their names, and I don't care enough to flip back through and find out.
Asking if the protagonist is truly in a novel or is mentally ill is the obvious question from the very beginning, and I was very disappointed with the book's equally obvious "you decide" conclusion, which was neither thought provoking or even interestingly executed. In fact, by the time I got through the haphazardly exciting thrill ride of the final chapters, I honestly couldn't have cared less who or what the heck the ridiculously (and illegitimately) self-centered Daniel was. I didn't care who the "author" was, if s/he even existed and I didn't even care that the story never offers any insight.
The novel's exploration of the desire to be fundamentally important in a story, any story even if it isn't even our own, is very attractive, and Conescu plays the protagonist's desperation and lunacy convincingly. And at the end of the day, the book is completely satisfying for what it is: a fun way to pass the time. If you're looking for something to read without turning over your life to a novel, then by all means, take your chances here. You certainly won't be hounded by a desire to resume reading if you have to put it down.
I honestly wanted to be excited about this book; the premise seemed interesting and I enjoy Conescu's writing style. It was a quick read with some laugh out loud funny moments, but it never gripped me and I don't think I would have willingly finished it had it been much longer than 192 pages. Thoughts upon finishing: "Huh."...more
Ultimately charming. I read this book immediately after reading Looking for Alaska, which decreased in its readability as the story progressed. I founUltimately charming. I read this book immediately after reading Looking for Alaska, which decreased in its readability as the story progressed. I found the opposite to be true with "Katherines" and I was glad to see that Green figured out how to write interesting action sequences. Plus, it was a fun way to spend the day - I really did laugh out loud at several passages. Some of the characters' quirks were initially grating, but as the story progressed I became "friendlier" towards the them and it was easier to accept their annoying habits. Just like with real friends. :) Also, it really is a quick read and I didn't feel like Green belabored the point of their quirkiness, so it was easy for me to forgive.
Green's liberal use of footnotes in the story fit with the personality of Colin, the completely awkward and precise protagonist and I thought they added to the story, rather than detracted. Colin's use of anagramming to soothe his anxiety is a cute party trick throughout the entire novel, yet becomes an example of the subtlety that Green is periodically capable of using. During the entire novel, Colin is revisiting his relationships with Katherines 1-19, trying desperately to mathematically plot each of those relationships, hoping to use his theorem to predict the outcomes of future relationships. One relationship refuses to work within the formula that has already successfully shown the outcome and timeline of the others, and he anagrams that Katherine's full name as a way to distract himself. He finds words "remark eighteen, snub rest" hidden in her name which winds up being meaningful in many ways as the story continues. Not only do we learn that his first and nineteenth Katherine are actually the same person (eighteen, not nineteen Katherines as Colin keeps insisting), but Colin amazingly isn't the 100% dumpee that he initially thought. And in the end, we fervently hope that our friend Colin can break the Katherine pattern after the abundance of those eighteen, or at least break the pattern of dismissing other girls simply because they don't have the correct first name.
I enjoy John Green's easy writing style, even if it can at times seem tired and superficial if you're accustomed to, well, non- Young Adult novels. However, Green's intended audience within the YA genre seems to be teenage male reluctant readers, and I hope that his books can help reduce the "reluctant" part of that demographic. Green's Young Adult novels don't feel like the literary brain candy that I inhaled during my middle and high school years, and boy howdy am I glad for that. His books might just be a very important transition that takes young readers from the act of simply ingesting a novel to the search for deeper and multiple meanings, and maybe (just maybe) actual literary analysis. As a Mom of a preteen boy, I'll be happy to have my son read Green's books when the time is right. Even if it means that he'll learn how to insult his friends by telling them (in German) that they sit down to pee. ...more