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Going Bovine

by Libba Bray

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,1331765,445 (3.74)117
Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen year-old who, after being diagnosed with Creutzfeld Jakob's (aka mad cow) disease, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital in an attempt to find a cure.
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    foggidawn: Both are great stories using the metaphor of road-trip for self-discovery.

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» See also 117 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 176 (next | show all)
I’ve been interested in CJD and other prion diseases ever since I saw a documentary in which afflicted patients were described as having “visions of flames.” Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed the first parts of this book more than the latter portions. Of course, there isn’t any way that the book could continue to be narrated in Cameron’s voice while staying with that thread, and thus “Going Bovine” sets off on a jaunt through a strange and surreal journey.

Honestly, I would be interested in reading this book from a different perspective, seeing what it is like to have a child or sibling diagnosed with CJD. But I can see how that would be a hard sell. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
I really enjoyed this book--the character's voice was true, the story fun and scary and wild. Not the ending I would have written or chosen, but it was not totally unsatisfying. Great YA although some material that might be a bit too mature for pre-teen readers. ( )
  sdramsey | Dec 14, 2020 |
Hm. I liked the writing style, and there were some characters I really LOVED in here. Junior Webster, Eubie, and Balder topped my favorites list. Plus there are some great, laugh out loud funny moments. But. My major issues with it didn't crop up until the end, and discussing them would be spoilery. So I won't.

Things I didn't love:

The slightly schizoid writing style, which, yes, makes sense for the story and the character. It's just not a style I really enjoy, so. There's that.

The plotline from pages 196-233. Yes, that's specific. It also really bugs.

The end.

To sum up! If you have the time, it's not a bad read. But I'm not going to tell you to run out and pick it up.

( )
  bookbrig | Aug 5, 2020 |
This book took forever to read...that is telling. ( )
  sishpa | Apr 25, 2020 |
I'm still not quite sure how to react to this book...except to say that it shook something deep inside me, as the best books do.

Cameron Smith is slouching through life. He just wants everything any normal, nerdy, under-the-radar high school guy wants. But then he starts having weird visions...and learns that his brain is slowly deteriorating from mad-cow disease. He thinks that's the end...until a pink-haired punk angel shows up in the hospital urging him to find a long-lost quantum physicist to cure him and save the world in the bargain. Cameron thinks, "What the hell?" and accepts.

And so he's off on a road trip of bizarre proportions, with a germaphobic/hypochondriac dwarf and later a yard gnome who is possibly a Norse god. He will encounter fire giants, scientists that believe in parallel worlds, a happiness cult, a wild Florida teen party, Disney World, a world-traveling Inuit band, a mythical jazz musician, evil snow globe dealers, and so much else. Cameron's voice is spot-on flawless, the chapter title headings are brilliant, the humor is smart, crude, emotional, and altogether perfect.

In a way, it's a book of purest insanity. It is, as one critic commented, a modern, darkly brilliant "Phantom Tollbooth" meets "Catcher in the Rye." Everything stands for something else. Nothing is as it seems. People and places and events all revolve into a gloriously perfect puzzle of life, mind, reality, and the unknown. What is really happening? What is the purpose of Cameron's journey? What is there to live for? What is life anyway? It's a book that's unafraid to ask you the deepest, most brain-melting questions, and then provide possible answers that are the most beautifully perfect kind of madness. This is a book where fate is random and chaos creates meaning, where nothing is what it seems and yet everything falls together in a way that makes sense because it doesn't make sense. It's very, very hard to describe. All I know is that it may have been the most philosophical, metaphysical, crazy novel I've ever read. ( )
  booksong | Mar 18, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 176 (next | show all)
Libba Bray not only breaks the mold of the ubiquitous dying-teenager genre — she smashes it and grinds the tiny pieces into the sidewalk. For the record, I’d go anywhere she wanted to take me.

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Libba Brayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Davies, ErikNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Take my advice and live for a long long time, because the maddest thing a man can do in this life is to let himself die. - Cervantes, Don Quixote
Hope is the thing with feathers. - Emily Dickinson
It's a small world after all. - Walt Disney
For my parents with love. This one's also for Wendy. And, as always, for Barry and Josh.
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The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World.
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Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen year-old who, after being diagnosed with Creutzfeld Jakob's (aka mad cow) disease, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital in an attempt to find a cure.

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