BOOK LOVE: THE UNIVERSE VERSUS ALEX WOODS

The Universe versus Alex Woods

It has been a very long time since I’ve written anything reading-related here on The Sunday Blah, so I thought it was about time to change this. Incidentally I’ve just read a book (yes, really!). This happens quite regularly but this time it was a book I instantly loved, so what better time than now? The book I am talking about is ‘The Universe Versus Alex Woods’ by Gavin Extence. I’m sorry I had to take a picture of my Kindle and can’t show you a photo of a pretty book cover, but I am a rather convinced e-reader convert and buying the book twice just for blogging purposes seems a bit over the top.

The main character is, as the title may have given away, Alex Woods, who in the first pages finds himself being arrested at the UK border with 113 grams of weed in the glove compartment and the ashes of his friend, Mr Peterson, in the passenger’s seat. Afterwards the events that lead to this situation are explained from Alex’s perspective. I believe a ‘coming of age novel’ is the right term for this kind of book. It deals with themes such as being different and behaving in an unconventional way, how the environment reacts to that and the right to die in a dignified an peaceful manner. The works of Kurt Vonnegut play a very important role in the story as well (I’m now reading Slaughterhouse Five, I love me some intertextuality).

The reason I love this book so much is the hilarious way the reactions of Alex and the people around him (cruel kids at school, the police and doctors) to his rather peculiar behaviour  are written down. With Alex having a perfectly logical explanation, but no one willing to listen to it. I particularly enjoyed the British media storm after certain events in the book, which I mostly found comical because it seemed all too realistic.This might be even funnier for an outsider who has lived and is going to live in England and is still amazed by the tabloid’s headlines, but I am sure Brits would enjoy it just as much.

As I’ve explained you’ll probably find yourself sniggering at this book every now and then, but a tear here and there is also a possibilty. It was for me at least, but then I cry at the slightest sadness in any film, book or (reality) TV show. When watching sad films a second time I start crying before the sad bit has even starten. In anticipation. Lastly the book is a super quick and easy read and requires no effort at all. The summer holidays might be over now, but I recommend checking out this perfect holiday read nonetheless.

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