As a description for those followers who may have not heard of the book, here’s the blurb:
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousands dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun — but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relaitonship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and may finally win him the girl.
I’m really enjoying it because it really reminds me of how it felt to be young and totally unaware of what love, romance and relationships were really about. He really does capture the feeling of wanting something you’ve never really had, never fully understood, and frankly get completely wrong.
What’s really interesting to me is that he has 19 girlfriends who have all been named Katherine. The first is from when he was 8 years old, and it lasted 3 minutes.
What’s striking about this is just how it reminds me of most people I’ve met who’ve never been in any serious kind of relationship, or are still virgins, including how I was. I don’t mean this in a bad way, just that it’s natural and we all go through it. You count every little possibility, every childhood “Well they said we were dating…” incidence, no matter how insignificant, because you don’t understand what makes a relationship a real relationship.
It includes the tendency to dramatize the little things, that when you get older and have real experiences you understand are just little things.
In a way, I guess you could argue that it takes some of the romance out of it, by taking out the idea of obsessing over someone. But it’s so much healthier when you build a balanced relationship with mutual respect.
This is something John actually talks about often on his channel. What you want, as a human being, is to connect with someone, to build an emotional bond, for someone to love you, and sometimes, especially when you’re young and it’s new, you get so desperate for it that you get clingy and unhealthily attached. This ends up causing the other person to just recoil, like an automatic reflex, and this is only natural because it’s just too much. No one wants to be depended upon that much. For another thing it’s not that attractive.
In a nutshell, when you’re young and inexperienced you tend to really fall in love with the idea of love. You do this because of love stories, pop culture, movies, and all the things you learn about love from, but are completely misled by. And the protagonist, Colin, is clearly more in love with the idea of love than he understands what love is really about.
His mind is fixated on the simple fact that the first girl who played a little game with him for 3 minutes called “Do you want to be my boyfriend? And now it’s over!” was named Katherine. He doesn’t think it’s intentional, it’s just that the moment he meets a girl with that name, spelled that way, he starts liking her.
And that says a lot about his own emotional immaturity, which is something we all go through and take a lot longer to learn than we typically think we do. But I think that what it comes right down to is just realizing, personally and emotionally, that we are individuals who can stand on our own, but choose to form partnerships and relationships. It’s less about need than it is about want, but when we’re young we really think it’s all about need.
Which, I think, is the source of the popularity of the Twilight books, which John has actually said he enjoys. Of course, Twilight acts like that kind of obsessive love is what’s important, but in a way it’s what we want when we don’t know better. And the book series appeals to young people who don’t know better, and older people who’ve lost that belief about love and kind of miss the innocence of it. I have friends my age who enjoy it, and they say that that’s the soul of it. It’s about that kind of obsessive kind of love that you can only really feel the first time.
I can’t help thinking that if Bella and Edward were actually real people, they would be something like Colin and his Katherines. Too needy, too desperate, too clingy, that one has to let go of the other, and the pain of learning this is difficult.
Colin tries to deal with his getting perpetually dumped by working on his Theorem, all the while never really understanding that what he’s doing wrong is based entirely in what he’s looking for.
Anyway. I’m not finished yet. But the book is a lot of fun, while also being amazingly resonant with what it feels like when you think you know about love but don’t really.