Thursday, April 8, 2010

My take On Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Libba Bray has created an instant cult classic with this kaleidoscopic coming of age story. In Going Bovine we follow Cameron, a Grade-A underachiever, on an epic save-the-world mission fraught with peril, snow globes, happiness cults, dead jazz musicians, rogue prions, positrons, perhapsatrons, and black holes. He is joined on his quest by an unlikely host of companions, among them a hypochondriac dwarf he met in the fourth floor “smoking lounge,” a punk rock angel with pink hair and spray painted wings, and a Viking lawn gnome that might or might not be a Norse god.
This was a truly amazing book. I was just as entranced by the funhouse vision of pop culture as I was by picking apart the mysterious clues of Cameron’s deteriorating mind for hints of reality. Libba’s vision of “cool” was one of the highlights of the warped reality. It shone a stark light on the ludicrous idolatry paid to the great god Celebrity and the lengths people will go for their fifteen minutes of fame. Her account of the name brand world read like a Ray Bradbury-esque vision of the future; like the reality we know, just knocked ever so slightly off kilter.
This was also a book of questions, the most obvious of which being, “Is the trip real?” The second question posed, “Does it matter whether the trip’s real or not?” And finally, “What’s ‘real’ anyway?” I feel that the reader’s answers depend largely on what type of person they are. A realist-literal-type A person will say that the trip was totally bogus, a figment of a diseased mind. Me, I’m on the flip side of that argument. Reality is what you make of it. Who cares if Don Quixote’s giants were just windmills, he thought they were real and that’s all that mattered. If a boy falls in love with a hallucination, does that make the love any less real? I think not.
My only complaint is that the last chapter was a little supplipherous. It was cool and gave a hopeful, if not slightly ambiguous, spin to the ending, but I went back and reread the second-to-last chapter over. I felt that it was a better ending. But that's just me.
I wish I could've put the cover in this post, because it is my new favorite! I love the sad look in the cow's eyes, very "heading for the slaughter house," which is perfect.
I give Going Bovine
…Five zombies.
It’s pretty rare that I come across a book that feels like it’ll stand the test of time; a book that gives the distinct impression of having that special something that imbues it with staying power. I think Going Bovine has that quality. It’s in touch enough with reality to be relatable, yet removed enough to speak a necessary truth far down the road. A hilarious, heart breaking, hopeful, tragic, and truly triptastic read.

Happy reading,

9 comments:

Taschima Cullen said...

I don't know if Ill read it, but you made a very through review, and that is awesomeness.

pirate penguin said...

Wow. I need to read this then. Fantastic review ;)

Eleni @ La Femme Readers said...

Great review, I can't wait to read this one :)

YA Vampire Books said...

Great review! It seems like this is a "love it" or "hate it" book. Still haven't decided if I should read it or not ;)

Jake Kirk @ Teens Read And Write said...

I loved this book too. What fun with all the quirky characters and crazy stuff that happened. I can see your point about the last chapter but I liked it because it gave a sense of hope. Otherwise I might have been too depressed!

Froggy said...

You made me want to read this book now..awesome review!

Hugs,
Froggy

vvb32 reads said...

soooo glad you gave this a good review. i'm looking forward to reading it now.

hmsgofita said...

I've heard great things about this one. Glad to know it'll be good! Thanks!

titania86 said...

I totally agree! It was the first book I read by Libba Bray and I was really impressed. Great review!

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