Ashley Poston's Reviews > Going Bovine

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
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's review
Apr 24, 11

bookshelves: blog
Read in July, 2010

** spoiler alert ** I must say, if you can read this 400 page monstrosity of doobie-tokin' mad cow let's-go-on-a-crazy-adventure-to-find-cure-and-don't-forget-the-dwarf-and-the-yard-gnome hysteria without shedding a tear, you are one powerful human being, sir (or ma'am, depending). From the premise of the novel, it sounds like a nonsensical romp where Bray just let her goofies rip and tear ass through this geek-studded terrain of comical plotlines and slap-stick devices, but it's much, much more.

It's so much more, I'm afraid that the world might have spontaneously combusted if she had written a single page more. Phew! Despite the easy read, it took me a while to actually finish it. Bray creates characters and situations that just let you savor the moment. The descriptions are lush and vibrant to the point of tasting the waffles, feeling the exhilaration of time-travel, and making of love to a pink-haired angel. It's just all so vivid and alive. The entire novel made me feel alive and whole, it made me laugh, and cry, and grin like a maniac.

The hero, Cameron, isn't likable--at all. He's self-centered, biased to the point of boredom, and extremely apathetic to life in general. He states in the first chapter that the most exciting part of his life was when (spoiler!) he had almost drowned on Disney World's Small World ride when he was little. He thinks his life sucks. He never takes initiative. He always sidles off to the wayside, and waits for something to happen to him. He waits for the world to come to him, because he's apparently too good to go get it himself. In other words, he's a self-righteous prick who I wish I could've curb-stomped into the ground.

But then plot happens, and of course nothing is the same after. He became one of my best friends by the end of the novel--a real chum. Someone I'd trust watching my back, you know?

The secondary characters--Dulcie (who I personally adore), Gonzo, and Balder--all of them teem with bubbly life. I wanted them to be real. I wanted to see Dulcie's wings, and shake Gonzo's hand, and hear one of Balder's epic stories. I wanted to be on that adventure with Cameron, and it even pained me (OK, yeah I know that sounds weird) when I knew it was just a novel, and that these wonderful, fresh people weren't real.

And, in the end, I think that is what completely sold me on this novel. It was a little long for my patience, yes, and I often found myself flipping pages, wondering when the next chapter would begin, but it wasn't because I was bored, but because I couldn't wait. I loved the analogies, how Bray allowed you to think what you wanted, how while some things were left up to interpretation, others weren't. I loved how she punned on real-life geek-dom, and how she spoofed teenage melodrama. I loved the way she characterized music, and how jazz seemed to be the life of the entire universe. I wanted to hear that B-Flat only Junior Webster could hear--I waited to hear it with Cameron. There are more things that I loved about this novel, I can't even list them all.

The favorite of them all, however, has to be the sheer possibility to quote this book. There are so many wonderful insights that just chill me to the bone. So many passages that I just want to hi-lite and sigh over and read again and again just to feel that way again. Bray is such a wonderful writer. Reading this was like walking into a cupcake shop knowing that everything was going to be sweet and delicious.

A few of my favorites quotes are (spoilers!):
"And when it comes, her kiss is like something not so much felt as found."
I will get chills every time I read that line. Every. Time.

"We live in fear and forget to walk in hope. But hope has not forgotten you. So ask it to dinner. It's probably hungry and would appreciate the invitation."
As you can see, it's also a sad story. It's sad in a wild, exhilarating, and at-times completely bonkers way. With every mote of sadness comes this flurry of funny, happy life. It's purely wonderful. Hell, I actually cried--multiple times!. They weren't those long, drawn-out OH-EM-GEE-DUMBLEDORE-IS-DEAD type of cries, but just the way she created a movement, the way she illuminated an emotion. It was beautiful--glorious.

You have to at least try this novel. You have to at least read the first fifty pages, and see if it's your cup of tea. Maybe it is, maybe it's not. But just try it, and if it turns out to be your favorite flavor of english tea, then I hope you will find Cameron's journey just as heartbreaking, hopeful, and endearing as I did.

Wow. Just... wow.
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Quotes Ashley Liked

Libba Bray
“These are hard times. The world hurts. We live in fear and forget to walk with hope. But hope has not forgotten you. So ask it to dinner. It's probably hungry and would appreciate the invitation.”
Libba Bray, Going Bovine

Libba Bray
“Board the cows! We've come to enslave your marigolds. ”
Libba Bray, Going Bovine

Libba Bray
“I don't think you should die until you're ready. Until you've wrung out every last bit of living you can.”
Libba Bray, Going Bovine

Libba Bray
"What?" Gonzo sounds panicked.
"We're out of gas."
"You're Shithenging me."
"I Shithenge you not.”
Libba Bray, Going Bovine

Libba Bray
“She never utters a sound even when she's crying, and that makes me a little sad. Doesn't seem right. When you cry, people should hear you. The world should stop.”
Libba Bray, Going Bovine

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