Book Review: Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Book: Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Published: 2009, Delacorte Press (an imprint of Random House)
Genre: YA
Pages: 480 pages
Where I got it: the library
Buy It: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads): All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

My thoughts: (*possible spoilers!*)I think it's about time that I declare my love for Libba Bray. I read her Gemma Doyle trilogy a couple of years ago, which made me realize that I was missing out on some great Young Adult fiction/ fantasy.  So, naturally I was excited when I heard she was coming out with another book, Going Bovine. I love the writing in this book. Normally, I find myself annoyed when an author tries to integrate the language of a high school student into a book but I feel like Bray did a pretty good job of getting it right here. The story is so out there- Cam is diagnosed with Mad Cow Disease and sets off on an epic adventure with his hypochondriac dwarf friend, Gonzo. Along the way they pick up the lawn gnome/ Norse God, Balder, and meet a quirky cast of characters. This is a story about life and finding it's meaning. About being able to do all the things people should get to do before they die. It's about life, love and friendship.

Going Bovine is a modern day Don Quixote. Before Cam's diagnosis, he was reading the story of Don Quixote for class. I liked how his mission to save the world led him on his own adventure that included a car called the Buick Rocinante. For those of you that haven't read Don Quixote (I haven't, and didn't know this), his horse is named Rocinante. At one point on their trip, the guys end up at the Church of Everlasting Satisfaction and Snack 'N Bowl (CESSNAB), which turns out to be a happiness cult of sorts. At first Cam embraces their way of life and decides to stay for awhile. It's not until he ventures to their library and discovers there is only one book in the whole place that he realizes something is not right at CESSNAB. I loved the scene where Cam names off any book he can think of that would be safe for people to read and the librarian gives ridiculous excuses. It was Bray's way of poking fun at the ridiculousness of book banning.

Some people might be put off by Cam's attitude problem in the beginning or the bizarre turn this book takes when he meets his punk rock angel friend, Dulcie, but I suggest you give Going Bovine a try. It's a touching adventure with a deeper message of living life to the fullest. It gives a boy his last wish, To Live....

The verdict: 4 stars  

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book too. I think Bray incredibly funny and I enjoy her sense of humor. I did have a few people who couldn't get into the story because it didn't make sense to them, but I think this is one of those books where you go with the flow and see where it takes you. Great review!