Friday, March 5, 2010

Going Bovine


Going Bovine

Cameron Smith, 16, is slumming through high school, overshadowed by a sister “pre-majoring in perfection,” while working (ineptly) at the Buddha Burger. Then something happens to make him the focus of his family's attention: he contracts mad cow disease. What takes place after he is hospitalized is either that a gorgeous angel persuades him to search for a cure that will also save the world, or that he has a vivid hallucination brought on by the disease. Either way, what readers have is an absurdist comedy in which Cameron, Gonzo (a neurotic dwarf) and Balder (a Norse god cursed to appear as a yard gnome) go on a quixotic road trip during which they learn about string theory, wormholes and true love en route to Disney World. Bray's surreal humor may surprise fans of her historical fantasies about Gemma Doyle, as she trains her satirical eye on modern education, American materialism and religious cults (the smoothie-drinking members of the Church of Everlasting Satisfaction and Snack 'N' Bowl). Offer this to fans of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy seeking more inspired lunacy. From GoodReads


Going Bovine starts with Cameron who's hallucinating some weird stuff like fire giants and such. Then he is diagnosed with Mad Cow disease. He then meets a punk-rocker angel called Dulcie who tells him there is a cure and he has to go in an adventure with the dwarf, Gonzo. Along the ride joins Balder and the three of them have the time of their lives as the clock ticks for the cure and the end of the world.

Let me say that I have wanted this since it came out but I was a bit worried. I LOVED Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle Trilogy (so much I haven't ever found a historical fantasy-ish book better than it. Yeah, THAT awesome it was) and I didn't know if she could pull off such a different type of book. I mean, talk about a big 180. I was so so wrong.

Going Bovine starts and ends in a note of hilarious-ness. It's amazing how a woman author, Libba Bray, can convey such a realistic and loyal male voice a la John Green. It's super honest and super entertaining. Cameron is such a loser, in whichever sense. He likes getting high on the school bathroom, is socially awkward, and is way into funny sounding music. But you know what I loved most? He grows throughout the book. He didn't change, he grew. And I admire the ability that Libba Bray has to create such a real and heart-touching character.

The other main characters, Gonzo and Balder are amazing. I mean, how can all three be hilarious without being tiring and sounding the same? It is true characterization. These three make a weird pair and a weird book, for sure. But I can't think of it in any better way.

Going Bovine has a few hints of Don Quixote and it made it so fun! I mean, hello? Classic Don Quixote made modern, it's the weirdest, ballsiest yet most AMAZING thing ever.

I also loved how you don't know if this is all real of it's happening inside Cameron's mind in the hospital until the very end. Oh, and the end DID confuse me but then I got it. I was not shocked or SURPRISED per se, I also didn't expect it. So it was that, oh, yeah it happened kind of mood. Nevertheless, it didn't disappoint me at all.

In one sentence:
"Libba Bray has proved that she IS the master of versatility. Going Bovine is fun, funny, and amazing."

Wait...that was more than one sentence...I'VE NEVER DONE THAT BEFORE*.
Oh, and may I also add that this has been the BEST book I've read this year? It's just been that awesome.

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5




*I write in CAPS when I'm excited :)

6 comments:

Aye.Me? said...

GREAT review!

I'm going to rush out and buy it right away! Well, I would rush out if I could legally drive, the nearest book shop wasn't an hour and a half away, and if it wasn't 11:30pm.

Okay, so the next time I see it, I shall buy it. :)

I really, really enjoyed reading your review!

miss cindy :) said...

Your review is great! I wasn't really interested in this book until I read it :)

Emidy said...

Amazing review! Amazing sounding book! I really have to read this. I've read other reviews, but this one makes me want to read it so much more than I did before.

Emidy
from Une Parole

Live Out Loud said...

"Is this a real book?"

That was my first reaction after the cover made me read your review! (I mean, I would have read your review anyway but after seeing the cover I just HAD to.)

I must get this book and thank you for not ruining the end. I was reading so fast I didn't brace myself "just in case" you were one of those reviewers who give away a bit too much.

Wow!

Aye.Me? said...

(I've given you an award over at my blog. :])

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