Monday, 7 May 2012

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Can Cameron find what he’s looking for?
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.

 Going Bovine was like a drunken teenager. Crazy, reckless, fun, shockingly poignant and above all, undeniably unreliable.
Cameron is a slacker/stoner. I loved his character. I could totally relate to it. He was very Holden Caulfield-esque. Cameron basically doesn’t like anything. At all. His parents live a dull life. His dad is possibly cheating on his mom. His sister is a pod person (Read: Cheerleader) who is dating the quarterback or something like that. His best memory is when he almost died at Disneyland when he was 5 years. He loves listening to this lame Portuguese singer, just to be ironic. He sometimes hangs out in the stoner bathroom having eloquent and sensible conversation about Schrödinger's cat* and such. I’d give an inch of my hair to go to that bathroom. It sounds like a glorious place. But never mind, this is just the start of the book and it only gets better.
Cameron gets Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is simply mad cow disease in a human. And hence, the cover.  It's genius really. Symptoms of this disease: Hallucinations, muscle twitching.
The rest of the book Cameron is either lying on a hospital bed or on a psychedelic road trip with a paranoid dwarf who loves to swear, a punk angel, and a yard gnome who claims to be a Norse God, or possibly both. It's really upto the reader to decide what is really happening.  The road trip is eccentric, they run into a jazz musician who is supposed to be dead, mardi gras folks, dumb reality-TV obsessed teens, CHURCH OF EVERLASTING SATISFACTION AND SNACK-’N’-BOWL AKA Future serial killers, physicists on the quest to enter parallel universe and much more.
This book is very surreal, very very funny, very Alice in Wonderland meets On The Road meets Don Quixote. And mostly, it begs the question, what exactly defines reality.  Till the box is opened is Schrodinger’s cat dead or alive or both? 

Similar books: Paper Towns By John Green
Other road trip related books on my reading list: Road trip books.


  1. This is one of the best reviews I've read! It sounds hilarious. I love Cameron and I haven't even started reading his story. The listening to a Portuguese singer just to be ironic pretty much assured that I'll read this.
    I hope the author uses a blurb from your review on her website or something!

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