Reading Response: 20 Better Questions

I finished An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green this afternoon.  The following answers to Twenty Better Questions contain spoilers and illusions to spoilers.  Read at your own risk!

  1. What character(s) was your favorite? Why?

My favorite character is Hassan because he lives life with a sense of humor.  I love how Hassan can take a situation that may be painful or unhappy and see the humor in it.

2. What character(s) did you dislike? Why?

The Other Colin (TOC) for sure!  He always seemed kind of smarmy and like he wasn’t a good person.  I thought that he would be taking advantage of Lindsey all along.

3. Does anyone in this work remind you of anyone you know? Explain.

The way that Colin can remember nearly anything reminds me often of my husband.  He is so intelligent and knows so many random things (that always seem to come up in our conversations because that is how we are).  This aspect of Colin is certainly my husband.

4.  Are you like any character in this work? Explain.

I think there are ways that I am like Lindsey.  I want to be liked and accepted.  I feel like in high school I did change myself some so that I would be more likable by my peers.

5. If you could be any character in this work, who would you be? Explain.

I’d love to be Hollis.  Well, Hollis minus the pink obsession.  Hollis is such a kind and generous person – working all hours of the day and doing everything to keep the people in her town employed and take care of all of them.

6. What quality(ies) of which character strikes you as a good characteristic to develop within yourself over the years? Why? How does the character demonstrate this quality?

I would want to develop Lindsey’s characteristic of caring and authenticity that we see when she visits with people from the factory.  As she goes to interview the “oldsters” with Hassan and Colin, we get a glimpse of the girl she truly is because they all remember her kindness and the compassion she has for the people in her town.

7. Overall, what kind of a feeling did you have after reading a few paragraphs of this work? Midway? After finishing the work?

After reading the first few pages in this work, I really felt like this was going to be an agonizing journey through Colin’s post-breakup depression.  I wasn’t really drawn into this book like I was when I read The Fault in Our Stars.

Midway through the book, I finally got a sense of who Colin and Hassan were and started to feel invested in the story of Colin and his breakups.

After finishing the book, I am pretty pleased with the interplay between math and language.  Ultimately John Green did an excellent job blending my two loves of math and language as he tells this story.

8. Do any incidents, ideas, or actions in this work remind you of your own life or something that happened to you? Explain.

The feeling of hopelessness and the sense that he will not ever be important is something I have dealt with.  I have been in the place that Colin and Hassan find themselves.  I felt like Hassan when I have been nearly paralyzed by the fear of becoming what I am to be.

9. Do you like this piece of work? Why or why not?

Overall I liked this piece of writing.  However, it is not going to be one of my top re-reads because the slow pace of action and not having an instant connection with the characters.

10. Are there any parts of this work that were confusing to you? Which parts? Why do you think you got confused?

I sometimes got confused when parts of the Katherines stories were told.  I think I got confused because that was Green’s intention – to keep us confused as to why the Katherine dumped Colin, and keep the memories of his loves shrouded in the hazy fog of recollection.

11. Do you feel there is an opinion expressed by the author through this work? What is it? How do you know this? Do you agree? Why or why not?

I believe that John Green is putting forth the idea that we all matter to others.  The long-lasting thing about a person is the way that they impact the lives of other people.

12. Do you think the title of this work is appropriate? Is it significant? Explain. What do you think the title means?

An Abundance of Katherines is appropriate because Colin is attempting to explain his love life through creating a mathematical formula.  I think it is important because he is so focused on his breakup with Katherine but is not looking at the world around him.

13. Would you change the ending of this story in any way? Tell your ending. Why would you change it?

I would change the ending by just telling a bit more in the Epilogue.  I would have loved to hear Lindsey’s thoughts and her hopes for the future with or without Colin, Hassan, or Hollis.

14. What kind of person do you feel the author is? What makes you feel this way?

I think that John Green is a person who believes in love and the goodness of people.  In this book we can see that the goodness and friendship that forms between the three main characters lead to the love and resolution of the stories.

15. How did this work make you feel? Explain.

I ended the book feeling like my nerdiness has been filled – I have worked through the story of Colin and the math of his story.  Ultimately, it is a good feeling.

16. Do you share any of the feelings of the characters in this work? Explain.

I feel the fear and apprehension that all three characters feel – the desire to stay in the familiar and not take the uneasy steps into the future that is unknown.

17. Sometimes works leave you with the feeling that there is more to tell. Did this work do this? What do you think might happen?

I did feel like the story just ended and left with some more to tell.  I think that Lindsey, Colin, and Hassan continue their epic road trip for the rest of the summer.  I also think that in the fall they go off to their respective colleges just a little bit changed for the better.

18. Would you like to read something else by this author? Why or why not?

I had already read The Fault in Our Stars a couple of years ago.  I really liked it.  I think I would want to try Paper Towns because I read it was a mystery.

19. What do you feel is the most important word, phrase, passage, or paragraph in this work? Explain why it is important.

“And the other moral of the story is that you, Smartypants, just told an amazing story, proving that given enough time, and enough coaching, and enough hearing stories from current and former associates of Gutshot Textiles that anyone – anyone – can learn to tell a damned good story.”(p.  208)

This really exemplifies the author’s theme that we can all be taught something by everyone we come in contact with.

20. If you were an English teacher, would you want to share this work with your students? Why or why not?

I would share this book with my students.  I would say in a book talk that this is a story of exploring who you were, finding who you are, and being changed into who you will be in the future.

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