Author: Libba Bray
Published: September 22, 2009 by Delacorte for Young Readers
(480 pages, hardcover)
Summary: 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.--
My thoughts: Wow. Just wow. Going Bovine is crazy insane madness that I just so happened to love. Cameron just wants to float through life without using much energy. What he gets is mad cow disease and a mission that is crazy, unreasonable, and completely awesome. The most amazing thing about this book is that while it is, in fact, insane and totally nonsensical, it still made you think. Seriously, what other book has talking yard gnomes and makes you ask yourself about life? Bray incorporates just about everything and anything into her story, and keeps it somewhat humorous, somewhat serious the whole time. Reading the summary might make you think this book is just a big, huge whirlwind of insanity, but it is insanity with a purpose. If that makes any sense at all.
Cameron isn't a protagonist you can easily bond with; he's kind of an asshole and really quiet. So I had problems at first, trying to connect with him and feel bad that he's having freaky hallucinations and about to die. But most of all, Cameron was a great protagonist after all because he was so average. With all the insanity going on, Cameron wasn't really special or amazing or awesome, he just was there. It made me bond with him in the end and let the readers have a little bit of normalcy in Going Bovine. I also loved how Cameron was so trusting; I mean, if I had a hallucination of a punk angel with Cameron Rock written on her pink wings, I would probably off myself; but Cameron goes with it, listens, and has the most epic adventure ever.
Gonzo, a video-gaming dwarf with a scarily huge knowledge of things that can kill a person, is quickly deemed Cameron's sidekick (by the possibly-hallucinated punk angel aforementioned) and although he is reluctant, he was an awesome sidekick. I loved his strangeness and his reactions to all of the craziness surrounding them. I even loved the fact that he had a huge secret that wasn't revealed until the end, and how he still acted like a normal guy. Even though he was possibly just another hallucination, Gonzo was the realest character in the story because of his strange habits and surprising deepness. Not only that, but he was there to keep Cameron from going off the deep end. Balder, the possible Norse god trapped in a yard gnome's body, was my favorite character. He talked weird, but he was just freaky enough that I loved his freakiness. Plus, he made me cry. I never thought I'd cry because of a talking yard gnome, but I did. Spoiler: For all of you who read the book, you know I'm not completely insane for crying over a yard gnome's death. It just took me by surprise; and he was awesome. Anyways, they were two great sidekicks and they added a lot to the overall story line.
I can't even begin to summarize the story line. Actually, the summary in the inside flap of the book does a pretty good job of it. My favorite part of the story was the smoothie-drinking cult phase Cameron gets sucked into. It was not only random and unorthodox, but kind of intriguing. It made me wonder if there really were happiness cults that used bowling and smoothies to keep people sedated. Anyways, Bray is a literary genius in my book; she weaves in so many different elements that I was reading so fast at points that I barely even saw the words. A lot goes on. Just read it. I mean, seriously, it would take a billion paragraphs to go over each thing that happens. Just, go read it! In the nicest way possible.
Going Bovine is a great book. It's one of those books that you kind of laugh, kind of cry, kind of go crazy just thinking about it. I loved not knowing what was really happening; the mystery of it all was intriguing. The ending was a little disjointed for me, but when I was considering giving it 4.5 stars, I couldn't really imagine giving it any less than 5 stars. The deep questions asked actually sounded deep, and coupled with Bray's amazing writing style and uncanny ability to mix the insane and the sane, Going Bovine is a great read. Really, there's no book I can think of that truly tops this one. I loved how it could appeal to guys and girls alike and how Cameron wasn't distractingly cute or anything. I mean, sometimes you need a brake from brave, amazingly hot protagonists that make you drool. But I still loved him. This book has just about everything. I can't help the raving I'm doing; it was just that good. It's one of those books that I'll probably be toting around with me whenever I hang out with my other bookish friends and ask them if they've read it, just so we can discuss its insane craziness and greatness. Bravo, Bray, bravo.
Oh, by the way, the chapter titles were great. I loved them. They added to the experience.
Overall Rating: 5/5