The Universe Versus Alex Woods, Paperback

The Universe Versus Alex Woods Paperback

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Richard and Judy summer bookclub read 2013, Amazon Rising star, and shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, this is a funny and touching story of an unlikely friendship and an improbable journey.

Alex Woods knows that he hasn't had the most conventional start in life.

He knows that growing up with a clairvoyant single mother won't endear him to the local bullies.

He also knows that even the most improbable events can happen - he's got the scars to prove it.

What he doesn't know yet is that when he meets ill-tempered, reclusive widower Mr Peterson, he'll make an unlikely friend.

Someone who tells him that you only get one shot at life.

That you have to make the best possible choices. So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing. A tale of an unexpected friendship, an unlikely hero and an improbable journey, Alex's story treads the fine line between light and dark, laughter and tears. And it might just strike you as one of the funniest, most heartbreaking novels you've ever read.




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I have mixed feelings about this book. It was a very easy read and at times it made me chuckle and towards the end I even had to choke back some tears (I was reading in public, otherwise I'd just let them go). But after I finished reading I didn't miss it or think twice about it. This is a bit weird as the story tries to address very difficult topics, the most obvious one being "life and death". However, it merely scratches the surface and never goes deep enough.The story is reminiscent of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night" and the constant references to Kurt Vonnegut don't work for me. Still, it's a like-able story that makes a good holiday read. I can imagine it would appeal to a younger reading audience, although they might not get all the science or, aforementioned, Kurt Vonnegut references.