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About another boy
on 10 January 2016
The universe versus Alex Woods is story narrated by its socially awkward teenage protagonist (the words Asperger's syndrome is never used but he is definately somewhere on the spectrum) who is unfortunate enough to have an over-protective, eccentric mother and no other friends and family who then a quarter of the way through the book goes on to develop a mutually beneficial and unlikely father and son relationship with a stranger.
The 'Universe versus Alex Woods' owes a huge debt to Nick Hornby's 'About a boy.' We even have an older teenage girl character who is feisty, argumentative but ultimately lovable! Ellie McCrae anyone?.
Despite being highly derivative 'The Universe versus Alex Woods' is, in some respects, a well-written coming of age story. The author covers a host of serious issues - bullying, loneliness, suicide, illness etc - as seen through the eyes of a young boy extremely well.
My main problem with the book was simply that because the characterisations were so hackneyed - 'Aspy' narrator, grumpy older guy who secretly has a heart of gold, emo/goth teenage female friend who also secretly has a heart of gold, eccentric over-protective single mother - it took away from their believability and undermined the believability of the whole plot.