DNF: The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
Author: Gavin Extence
Publisher: Redhook, an imprint of Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Format/Source: eARC/Received from publisher via NetGalley
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. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads)
I hate not finishing books, but sometimes, they’re just not great, or they’re just not your thing, or they contain issues or events that you just really don’t want to (or can’t) read about. For me, The Universe Versus Alex Woods was the latter. It was an interesting book and I could see some of the British humor in there, but unfortunately there was something in the book that hit my anxiety button and just kept on pushing.
I didn’t realize that I was so anxious about seizures until reading this book. I remember that one of my friends when I was a kid had a brother who was epileptic. I saw him have a seizure once and it was something that really bothered me as a kid. The fact that I have an eye phobia doesn’t help, because of the whole eyes rolling back in your head thing. (That is a sentence I have anxiety just typing out.)
Yes, I’m weird. No, I do not have epilepsy and I am not afraid of people who do. I’m sorry that people have it and have to deal with it, and I do not hate people with epilepsy or even dislike them. But for some reason the subject triggers major anxiety with me. I was so anxious while reading this book that I couldn’t go to sleep one night. So it got to the point that I just had to stop reading. I just couldn’t do it anymore.
However, if you don’t have weird anxiety like I do, this might be a book you should try. The only other issue I had with the parts I read were that occasionally some of it came across sounding like a school lesson. Alex’s doctor tells him all the details about his surgery after getting hit with the meteorite, and it seemed like I was attending a pre-med lecture in college. Alex is told all about meteorites, and I felt like I was sitting in a middle school science class. There’s a discussion about an Emily Dickinson poem that turns into a philosophy or psychology lesson. But other than that, the book was interesting.
One day, maybe I’ll get over my anxiety towards seizures and I’ll be able to finish this book. Until then, please check out the reviews from other bloggers that I’ve listed below.