Chesca's Reviews > Going Bovine

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
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it was amazing
bookshelves: young-adult, magical-realism, mental-illness, read-in-2017, books-i-highly-recommend

“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.”


One word to describe this book: CRUEL

It’s also one of the most honest books I’ve ever read.

ASK ME HOW I’M FEELING RIGHT NOW.

I’m feeling everything all at once. I am bleeding light!

Libba Bray, how could you! Why would you make such a masterpiece that’s both life-changing and horrifying? But, oh well, most life-changing things scare you first and keep you awake at night thinking.

“The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World. I'm sixteen now, so you can imagine that's left me with quite a few days of major suckage.”

Going Bovine tells the story of Cameron Smith and how his life was slowly drained out of him by mad cow disease. It’s an adventure that will keep you looking for the meaning of life, serving you answers with the aid of a gnome, a dwarf, and a pink-haired, sweet-toothed angel.

I didn’t expect all the things that this book contained. It was so random, literally, but the author was able to stitch up those weird things together to create so much depth, leaving a big, black hole in my chest.

I was hesitant at first to read this book because I usually don’t like stories that focus on characters that would most probably die due to their disease. I still gave it a try because Libba Bray wrote it and I love her The Diviners series so much. The things that Cameron went through were so unpredictable. It just showed how creative the author is and that she’s excellent in it.

The author’s writing for this book is flawless, even though a huge amount of cussing was thrown into it to inject a certain amount of casualness. It was, in itself, filled with personality.

“Who but the mad would choose to keep on living? In the end, aren't we all just a little crazy?”

This was such a hilarious read although it tackles serious issues in life that we usually don’t discuss. What would you do if you were told that you could still be saved from dying in the hands of such an incurable disease? Would you give it your all and take the risk of finding a solution to that problem? What makes life worth living? What defines happiness? Is there even a time for love if you’re dying? What awaits us at the end of the road? There were just so many questions that clawed at my soul throughout the story, that by the end of it I was bursting with enlightenment (and tears).

Cameron lived a normal and ordinary life before he got sick. He had issues like most teenagers. His sister went with the popular kids who didn’t like the weird ones like him, and so they didn’t get along. His parents’ relationship was slowly being torn apart by the affair that his father was most-probably having with his secretary, and his mother’s weakness in opinions and decisions.

I could relate to Cameron in some ways and that made me feel sad. He was driven by his will, by his hope, even though the path he was taking didn’t absolutely guarantee what he was seeking. Maybe, in some ways, at some points in life, we’ve all been like him: fueled by want and desire to reach a goal.

Meeting Dulcie somehow changed Cameron’s life. It was an opportunity of tainting the night sky with bursts of fireworks. She was adorable, a bit confusing sometimes due to her indirect instructions and statements as a messenger and guide. Dulcie was a very interesting character, but among all of them, she was the one I least understood as a person due to her being mysterious.

Gonzo, the dwarf, was quite entertaining. He had OCD, which was basically induced by his mom. He had to make sure that anything he ate or used was sanitized well enough based on his mom’s standards.
Balder, the yard gnome who claimed to be a god cursed, was also very amusing. The way he talked was very formal, and he spoke of his identity and where he came from firmly and surely, neglecting people’s doubts about him.

“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.”

Every scenario in the trip that went well was something, I supposed, equaled to pain in Cameron’s reality. He was falling further to the bottom the closer he reached the end of the road. It was terrifying, but real. It was both hopeful and hopeless.

In the end, it was all about appreciating the life each person was given. It was about looking back at every turn made and not regretting any of them. Going Bovine is an honest story confronting the lies we tell ourselves. It’s eye-opening and heart-shattering.

This read is highly recommended and everyone should read it!
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Quotes Chesca Liked

Libba Bray
“You’ve been assigned an identity since birth. Then you spend the rest of your life walking around in it to see if it really fits. You try on all these different selves and abandon just as many. But really it’s about dismantling all that false armor, getting down to what’s real.”
Libba Bray, Going Bovine

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
“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

Libba Bray
“You've influenced the world not because you wanted to hug it and cuddle it and call it sweet thing, but because one day you wanted to beat the crap out of somebody but you didn't. You made a painting instead.”
Libba Bray, Going Bovine

Libba Bray
“Who but the mad would choose to keep on living? In the end, aren't we all just a little crazy?”
Libba Bray, Going Bovine

Libba Bray
“There's no such thing as nothing. In every nothing, there's a something. In fact, there could be everything!”
Libba Bray, Going Bovine


Reading Progress

April 22, 2016 – Shelved
April 22, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
April 22, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
August 24, 2016 – Shelved as: magical-realism
November 6, 2016 – Started Reading
November 12, 2016 –
page 113
23.54%
November 12, 2016 – Shelved as: mental-illness
November 12, 2016 –
page 136
28.33% "This book is both exciting and scary. I don't want to eat meat anymore! :(("
November 16, 2016 –
page 168
35.0%
November 20, 2016 –
page 199
41.46% "Imagine yourself in Cameron's shoes. Kidding. DON'T. You would not want that. \n\nI want to finish this already, but at the same time I don't. :'("
November 24, 2016 –
page 199
41.46% "I'm putting reading this on hold. Real life is already too suffocating for me at the moment and this story is just making me feel worse. I'll get back to it next week or the week after that."
January 4, 2017 –
page 327
68.13% "Soooo the other reason why I've put this book on hold for almost two months was that I took a peek at the end.\n\nNot just an I-opened-the-last-page-and-read-the-last-line, but a let's-read-from-the-last-page-and-backwards and an oh-wait-let's-read-the-whole-last-chapter kind of thing.\n\nI hate myself."
January 8, 2017 – Finished Reading
January 27, 2017 – Shelved as: read-in-2017
December 3, 2017 – Shelved as: books-i-highly-recommend

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Karla (new)

Karla Enjoy, love! xx


message 2: by Puck (new)

Puck Wow, what a beautiful review, Chesca! This book and Cameron's illness sound really interesting; I didn't know that mad cow disease could affect humans like this (although there have been quite a few outbreaks here in the Netherlands).

And since I love heart-breaking and honest stories (and I want to read something by Libba Bray), I will put this on my to-read list!


Chesca Puck wrote: "Wow, what a beautiful review, Chesca! This book and Cameron's illness sound really interesting; I didn't know that mad cow disease could affect humans like this (although there have been quite a fe..."

Thank you, Puck! :) According to what I've read, people could get the disease from eating infected meat. :/ I hope you like it, and have all the fun and the feels when you read it. :) xx


message 4: by Denise (new)

Denise H. Marvelous review sweet Chesca ! :) x


Chesca Denise wrote: "Marvelous review sweet Chesca ! :) x"

Thank you, Denise! :) xx


Sophie "Beware Of The Reader" Fantastic review Chesca! And thanks for the rec ;-) xx


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