The Universe Versus Alex Woods - Gavin Extence


“If you had to relive your life exactly as it was – same successes and failures, same happiness, same miseries, same mixture of comedy and tragedy – would you want to? Was it worth it?” 

How far would you go to help a friend?

Alex is a socially awkward, intelligent teenage protagonist (I have a real soft spot for this type of character) who, aged 10, gets hit on the head with an iron-nickel meteorite the size of an orange, resulting in a memory-robbing coma, epilepsy and sparking an interest in astrophysics and neurology.

The story features a couple of supremely absurd series of events, a slightly dysfunctional yet very supportive mother/son relationship and has at it's heart a friendship between two very different people, who grow to love and respect each other sufficiently to embark on a journey to Zurich which will end with Alex being stopped at customs "...with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar..."

There was much I loved about this book, and nothing I hated, but it didn't move me as much as I expected it too. It is, however, a book I would recommend as an entertaining, enjoyable, thoughtful and thought-provoking exploration of friendship, literature, science and assisted suicide.


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