An Abundance of Katherines
by John Green
Where It All Goes Down
Most of the book takes place in a small Hicksville town called Gutshot. Colin and Hassan are from the Windy City, and only really stop in Tennessee because they see a sign for the grave of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. We learn a lot about our setting just by the way Colin and Hassan react to it. The narrator even tells us that they "fail to fully apprehend certain facets of rural life" like a rooster waking them up at 5:00AM (8.1). Can you blame them?
The setting is important because the whole town relies on the factory that Lindsey's great-grandpa opened. This is especially important to Hollis because she doesn't want to shut the doors of the place that keeps Gutshot going. Like in every small town, everyone knows everyone else's business, and over the course of the book Hassan and Colin get used to this and figure out how to deal with everyone in the town too. Plus, it's got a totally original and wonky name. Even though Gutshot isn't actually in Tennessee, it's slang for when someone gets, well, shot in the gut. And isn't that what being dumped feels like?