Chris's Reviews > Going Bovine

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
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's review
Jan 01, 2010

really liked it

As a kid, I imagined lots of different scenarios for my life. I would be an astronaut. Maybe a cartoonist. A famous explorer or rock star. Never once did I see myself standing under the window of a house belonging to some druggie named Carbine, waiting for his yard gnome to steal his stash so I could get a cab back to a cheap motel where my friend, a neurotic, death-obsessed dwarf, was waiting for me so we could get on the road to an undefined place and a mysterious Dr. X, who would cure me of mad cow disease and stop a band of dark energy from destroying the universe.

Cameron worships at the church of apathy, can’t stand his family, and has a wittily sarcastic response to most everything. He’s a not untypical slacker sixteen-year-old, in other words. He also makes a good narrator, with his sardonic voice giving us a personal perspective on this story. It starts as a normal enough narration of teen life in small town Texas, except Cameron starts experiencing severe attacks of pain, sleeplessness, seizure-like muscle spasms, and fiery hallucinations. Between teachers, parents, and shrinks who would rather box Cameron into their preconceived notions than listen to him, it takes a bit for the truth to emerge, but they finally figure out that he has the rare human form of mad cow disease. His brain will continue its gradual deterioration with no cure or treatment, and he is checked into a hospital for what remains of his life.

Until, that is, one of his visions sends him on a quest to save the world from certain destruction. He convinces his hospital roommate to join him, and they sneak away in the middle of the night to end up crisscrossing the country, trusting in the guidance of random billboards, tabloids, and strangers, never quite knowing what is real and what is imagined. The adventure is chock full of wacky elements--with social commentary encounters in the vein of Cervantes, Voltaire, and Twain--but it is all serious business to Cameron as he desperately searches for the one man who might help him escape death. Strange, funny, original, and insightful. This one stands out from the crowd.

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Quotes Chris 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
“In our travels, we have come across many equations--math for understanding the universe, for making music, for mapping stars, and also for tipping, which is important. Here is our favorite equation: Us plus Them equals All of Us. It is very simple math. Try it sometime. You probably won’t even need a pencil.”
Libba Bray, Going Bovine

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Lisa That is also my favorite quote from the book!

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