A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn't had the easiest childhood.
But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count.
So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the front seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing . . .
Introducing a bright young voice destined to charm the world, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a celebration of curious incidents, astronomy and astrology, the works of Kurt Vonnegut and the unexpected connections that form our world.
Seventeen-year-old Alex Woods was a household name even before authorities discovered 113g of marijuana and the ashes of an old man in the car he drove across the English border. At the age of 10 Alex became a national celebrity after being hit by a meteorite. In his teenage years he was most comfortable with adults like his doctors and Isaac Peterson, an irascible, reclusive, pot-smoking American widower who lives nearby in Alex's small village; Alex's only teenage friend is an emo goth girl named Ellie. Alex's naivet , bookishness, and oddness make him a target for bullies and his earnest response to one instance of abuse only solidifies his reputation. His mother's self-proclaimed powers of clairvoyance don't help Alex's rep, nor does the epilepsy he acquired after the accident. Peterson encourages Alex to read Vonnegut, prompting Alex to create a book club called the Secular Church of Kurt Vonnegut, giving Alex a leadership position that brings him the confidence he needs to help navigate his neighbor's lengthy illness, albeit with major missteps along the way. Extence's engaging coming-of-age debut skillfully balances light and dark, laughter and tears.
An enjoyable romp. Nothing too groundbreaking in terms of narrative structure. It will definitely piss off the Christian Right--but what doesn't these days. The characters were well-developed. Funny stuff.