Unexpectedly (Mr. Green, please don’t take that descriptor the wrong way), An Abundance of Katherines is now on my Favorites shelf. While it opened with Colin Singleton getting dumped by the 19th Katherine, I didn’t feel any cheeseballs moment or pathetic shenanigan in it. What compelled me to the story was John Green’s witty writing style — light, hilarious, and yet, full of emotions. Seriously, the graphs, trivia, equations and foreign languages perfectly fit in the plot, making the book more interesting and the protagonist’s character more established. Didn’t expect that I will enjoy bell curves ever in my life.
If I were to lift the main learnings from the book, I would have five:
First. Dumpees and Dumpers.
Basically, at the end of every relationship, there’s a Dumpee and a Dumper. Colin had been dumped 18 times, but was once a dumper. Being a major dumpee his whole life, Colin became motivated to develop a theorem that will predict if he’s gonna get dumped by a girl and how long will their relationship last. In my understanding, I think this is to (1) emotionally prepare him of an impending heartbreak; or (2) to actually avoid that impending heartbreak.
Example of a Dumpee:
Hey, it’s Col. I’m standing in a soybean field outside of Gutshot, Tennessee, which is a long story, and it’s hot, K. I’m standing here sweating like I had hyperhidrosis, that disease where you sweat a lot. Crap. That’s not interesting. But anyway, it’s hot, and so I’m thinking about cold to stay cool. And I was remembering walking through the snow coming back from that ridiculous movie. Do you remember that, K? We were on Giddings, and the snow made it so quiet, I couldn’t hear a thing in the world but you. And it was so cold then, and so silent, and I loved you so much. Now it’s hot, and dead quiet again, and I love you still.
Example of a Dumper:
I’m sorry, Col. But I think we made a really good decision.
One of the reasons why I read this book is to figure out the predictability of a relationship. Well, I am neither committed to someone nor dating someone (as far as I’m concerned, lovelife is nonexistent in my realm), but I thought that it would be a good help to know, right? But of course, the theorem that Colin was able to crack was just to map out a graphical representation of done relationships. It apparently does not predict what will happen to an ongoing relationship because, as Colin later realized, “The future is unpredictable.”
Other terms could be having significance in the world or being relevant to society. Because for those who want to live a life with purpose, they are in constant search of something to do that will make them remembered or feel important. I think this feeling of trying to matter is a regular visitor in our heads. And so it is very much the same with our trio: Colin, Hassan (the best friend (late bloomer in this subject)) and Lindsey (the new found friend).
Third. Stories vs Actual Events.
There’s a difference between the actual turnout of events and how the story was told and remembered.
All along, Colin thought that he got dumped 19 times by Katherines. Until recently when he was almost done with the theorem, the graph revealed that he dumped Katherine III instead of the other way around. Apparently, getting dumped by Katherine III was how he remembered and told the story. But the truth is, he was the one who broke it off with Katherine III.
Thanks to his theorem, Colin would have never found out that he was once a dumper.
Fourth. Cure that self-involvement.
Try to avoid relaying stories that are just about yourself. Enough said.
Fifth. Missing Pieces.
This quote says it all:
I don’t think your missing pieces ever fit inside you again once they go missing. Like Katherine. That’s what I realized: if I did get her back somehow, she wouldn’t fill the hole that losing her created.
Bonus learning about ellipsis: it means kissing.
Reading Challenge: 4 out of 35