An Abundance of Katherines
by John Green
Analysis: Plot Analysis
Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: the initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice.
Colin Gets Dumped… Again
After Colin is dumped by a girl named Katherine for the nineteenth time, he mopes around at home in a constant cycle of weeping, wallowing, and whining. He doesn't get why he's always the one to get dumped, and he never even saw it coming. His buddy Hassan comes over to comfort him, but ends up giving it to him straight: Colin's got to stop bumming so hard over this girl, and get out into the world. Did someone call for a road trip?
Colin and Hassan drive until they get to a small town called Gutshot, where they stop to see the grave of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Their tour guide, Lindsey, is dating a Colin, which they think is a really weird coincidence. Lindsey's mom, Hollis, offers the boys a job interviewing people around town, and they accept it because, well, they've got nothing better to do. The boys interview people about the factory that Lindsey's great-grandpa, Fred N. Dinzanfar, started way back when.
Child Prodigy Wants Eureka Moment
Colin desperately wants to matter, and he figures that if he can't shake his whole child prodigy label, he can at least make a huge discovery and be thought of as a genius. So he works on what he knows: math and relationships, trying to figure out a theorem that would explain relationships. Meanwhile, Hassan's new squeeze, Katrina, and Lindsey's BF Colin (TOC) were caught with their pants down (literally), so those relationships are history. Lindsey is upset, but she's more preoccupied with whatever's going on with her mom—Hollis has been cagey and anxious lately, and Lindsey wants to get to the bottom of what's causing that.
Secrets, Secrets, Everywhere
When you go hunting for the truth, be prepared for a bunch of secrets—that's what happens when Lindsey, Colin, and Hassan team up to spy on Hollis. It turns out no one is buying tampon strings from their factory anymore, so Hollis is dumping them in the ground so she doesn't have to fire anyone. Without the factory, loads of people would lose their jobs, and that's why she's been sending the boys around interviewing people about the factory in the good old days. She wants there to be a record when the factory is no longer around. Lindsey takes the news pretty hard, Colin goes to comfort her, and the two share their own secrets about their love lives. Oh—and Colin's figured out that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand is actually an anagram of Fred N. Dinzanfar, Lindsey's great-grandpa. That's who's in the grave. All this secret sharing leads to a kiss, and then a relationship between Lindsey and Colin.
One of These Things is Not Like the Other
Colin finally figures out the theorem, but gets down in the dumps when it predicts Lindsey will break up with him in just four days. He's expecting it this time when he gets a letter from her, ending it their relationship… but wait—it's all just a joke. Lindsey's not going anywhere, and he figures out he can't use one theorem to predict when someone will break up with him. Lindsey, Colin, and Hassan decide to hit the road and see where it takes them.