I have just finished reading An Abundance of Katherines, and I am officially in love with John Green. He will likely have to dump me, as I’ve read his author notes and he’s married to someone named Sarah. Fortunately, that will allow me to chart our relationship on the graph system invented by John’s protagonist, Colin the Prodigy.
An Abundance of Katherines is one of those rare and satisfying young adult novels so packed with ideas that it takes a week to read. Colin the Prodigy has a highly overactive brain, so the book is full of historical notes and wordsmithing and several foreign languages.
I was highly relieved to read (again in the author notes) that my new temporary boyfriend John Green isn’t a prodigy himself, because that would be fairly intimidating.
I did notice that at one point in the book John discusses the work of Lewis Terman, the controversial scientist who tracked a group of high-IQ kids for multiple decades. Malcolm Gladwell discusses this same group — the “termites” — in The Outliers.
Well, as it turns out, amazingly smart kids don’t turn out to be amazingly productive adults. They become doctors, lawyers, entrepreneaurs and the like, but they don’t necesarily invent new ways to live on Mars.
As someone who feels like she could use a few more IQ points on most days, I find this idea comforting. I extrapolate that my lack of prodigy status makes me no less likely to produce the next great novel.
I’m going to use this thought to help me get over my upcoming break-up with John.