(As usual – this is a discussion post on An Abundance of Katherines, so full-on spoiler warning!)
This month’s Brunch Book Club was certainly a busy one! And of course to have a discussion about An Abundance of Katherines, we had to have a Katherine join us…. Ms. Kate Plummer, along with Rhiannon (The Diary of a Bookworm) and Tiff (Mostly YA Lit) joined Chandra (sakuralovestea), Jenn (Lost in a Great Book) and myself at Lola’s Kitchen on Church Street for some brunch. We actually found the place online via Yelp because it took reservations and was “good for groups”, but turns out they didn’t take reservations on the weekend. So after about 40 minutes of waiting, meeting an adorable baby + family in line, and being treated to a delicious chocolate(?) loaf of some kind by the staff we were finally seated by the lovely front bay window. Just as the sun was finally starting to peek through! Jenn’s taking the photo for us, but we got commented on our rainbow of colours that we were all sporting. I think we were all just really willing the nice weather to come out finally!
Once we got our food and drinks, we immediately jumped into talking about An Abundance of Katherines. Tiff immediately said how it took her the full week to get through the book because it felt so incredibly personal to her. The character of Colin had irritated her because, she soon realized that she saw her past exes and even her past self in that character – which made it uncomfortable to read at times. On the other hand, I believe it was Chandra and/or Rhiannon that brought up how it’s great that all the characters embraced who they were. Even with Lindsey constantly changing herself depending on who she was with, her with Colin & Hassan made no apologies about who they were. They didn’t suddenly become popular and cool at the end, they just were who they were. Kate had some great insight from the small town perspective and how it was nice to have everyone in the town so truly love and be thankful for the factory that was there, rather than potentially hate that it existed. She also shared how in small towns, it could be hard to shed different personas, so it was interesting to see goth-Lindsey just decide that her plan was to no longer be that way and to become popular.
Also in that respect, Colin had his focus of the math theorem (which Rhiannon and I both agreed that we’re both horrible at math but Green made it interesting!) and it was almost like because he’s book smarts, didn’t mean he’s street smarts. He was so focused on what was going wrong and veering off his path that he had to figure out why and math was his way to rationalize his life becoming chaotic and uncertain.
We all agreed on John Green’s writing that he’s fantastic at writing characters. Jenn said how it’s so clear that he has such a great relationship with his brother because he’s got the bromance between Colin & Hassan with their banter and dialogue so well done. To that effect, we talked about how many books often use the setting or situation as the basis of the story (ie. dystopian, apocalyptic, etc.) but in this case, Green could really have set these three characters ANYWHERE and they could have similar experiences and developments. They could have the whole character growth while locked up in a bunker – it almost didn’t matter it was in Gutshot, or wherever. The characters were the main focus of the story.
For fun, we talked a bit about who we’d cast in the movie.. I said Colin Hanks for Colin – but maybe partially because of the name.. Jenn said Jesse Eisenberg, which I can totally see. And perhaps Kal Penn as Hassan.
I know we talked a lot more about the book and I know I’m missing chunks of conversation but with 6 people rather than our usual 3, it’s definitely harder to remember who said what, and all that was discussed! So be sure to check out Jenn’s wrap-up as well to get her take! Afterwards though, both Jenn & I agreed that it was a really great book discussion. With so many points of view from so many people, it’s certainly one of our most conversation-inspiring brunch book clubs we’ve had so far!