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Going Bovine by Libba Bray
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Going Bovine

by Libba Bray

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,6561454,350 (3.79)109
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» See also 109 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 145 (next | show all)
Unique plot and well-written characters with humor tossed in at all the right places made for one awesome read. I loved it and would definitely recommend this! ( )
  Kelly_Mills | Dec 13, 2014 |
Well, I honestly didn't expect much of this book, so I was neither disappointed nor impressed. The book is OK really. It's about a regular teenager who finds he has Creutzfeldt-Jakob (a.k.a. mad cow disease), which gives him god only knows how much more time of life. While he is at the hospital, a spunky angel appears to him purposing him one thing that could save his life: to find a certain Dr. X who would have the key to the cure of his disease... and to save the world from inter dimensional fire monsters.

The story may sound stupid, childish and cheesy, but I found the progression of the whole thing rather plausible. I mean, you obviously won't meet Norse gods around the world trapped within the body of a yard gnome, but what's more... "common" than a teenager running away from the hospital and going on an adventure? There are several elements of fantasy, but the plot overall is very "realistic".

Still, I feel that the story could have been much better. I found the characters were somewhat empty and superficial when they HAD the potential to be much more complex. There wasn't enough of them for me to feel captivated. It feels like the story was cold and distant.

In spite of that, it's a nice quick reading. ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
Interesting concept and story. Could have done with a little less swearing, although it usually fit the characters. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
Kept me thinking, laughing, and enjoying throughout this book; my teenaged son liked this bizarre book too. "'You are the cow of my contentment.' Dulcie the angel translates Cameron's Latin from a Great Tremolo song (Bray 269). Makes you wonder doesn't it? That's my one take-away. It's all linked in some bizarre way. ( )
  turbobks | Aug 6, 2014 |
Cameron Smith’s just another high school stoner slacker, heading nowhere in no hurry, when he starts hallucinating in class. Although initially suspected to be marijuana-induced, Cameron’s soon diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob variant BSE (mad cow disease) and told there is little hope for recovery. As he waits in the hospital, an angel named Dulcie appears to him and tells Cameron that if he can find the time-traveling physicist Dr. X, he can be cured. Determined to live, Cameron sneaks out of the hospital with his classmate Gonzo and begins an epic road trip through the American South. On the road, he picks up a third traveling companion: the Norse god Balder, trapped in the body of a lawn gnome thanks to the intervention of Loki.

Man, this book is just weird. There’s a lot going on as layers of reality intersect, leaving the reader uncertain about what’s real. Is Cameron really on the road, following the directions of an angel only he can see, or is this all a massive hallucination from his hospital bed? If it’s a hallucination, does that make the adventure any less of a “real life” for Cameron?

Not that I care, really. Cameron is really, truly annoying. In some ways, he’s that ultimate hipster, so desperate to be ironic and cynical that he doesn’t take joy in anything. But a hipster is at least interested in cultivating an image; Cameron lacks the ambition or drive to achieve even this, so he’s just another lazy pothead. Sure, shit happens to him, and suddenly he’s trying to cope with this horrible disease. I should feel sorry for him. But all Cameron does is whine and complain.

There’s a lot of pop culture and pseudo-pop culture thrown in here. Cameron’s memories constantly return to a family vacation in Disney World, where he nearly drowned after jumping out of a boat on the It’s A Small World ride. He talks about the park throughout the story, and Dulcie gives him a bracelet modeled on the old-fashioned ticket system the theme park once used. He also obsesses over the conflict between the Coyote and the Roadrunner in those old Bugs Bunny cartoons, constantly imagining himself in a similar situation. But that seems relatively minor compared to the fictional celebrities (modeled on late 90s MTV programming, I think) and the Copenhagen Interpretation, a band that combines the weirdness of Bjork with the mad popularity of Beatlemania. It’s a send-up of our own pop culture, our obsession with youth culture and latching on to that fifteen minutes of fame, no matter the cost to our dignity, but…it just isn’t that funny, or interesting, or even scathingly biting.

And the plot just rambles on and on. It’s a road trip that never ends. En route to their ultimate destination of Disney World, Cameron and Gonzo meet up with a legendary New Orleans musician, stumble into the clutches of a cult, buy a used car, find a Norse god, pick up hitchhikers and live out the spring break beach party fantasy. In between adventures, Cameron flashes back to the hospital where he’s still in bed, getting injected with shots or overhearing people talking about his condition. Some people might like the hallucinatory quality of the narrative, but to me it just felt like reading a hot mess filled with teenagers engaging in sex, drugs, and whining angst. ( )
  makaiju | Jul 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 145 (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 editionsconfirmed
Davies, ErikNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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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Book description
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.--Amazon.com
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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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