Snotchocheez's Reviews > Going Bovine

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
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really liked it

Somewhat apt analogy here: Libba Bray hanging out with the stoners and miscreants in the high school bathroom, some with little more on their mind than escaping the mundane world by getting high and wadding up the the institutional cheap-ass paper towels, getting them wet and hurling the gluey muck at the ceiling, while Libba's there doing the same, but through her cannabis fug is intent on recreating a Dale Chihuly-esque Bellagio Hotel-like thing of beauty, transforming the splatfest into something gorgeous.

Going Bovine, Ms. Bray's 470+ page attempt to tackle the mysteries of life (or something), is not exactly "high art", but there's lots here to admire. For some (including yours truly) maybe too much. More than a few times I found myself rolling my eyes at its madhouse lunacy (evoking the feelings I got from Ready Player One) yet throughout I couldn't help but marvel at the creativity on display.

Cameron (our narrator) is well on the way to loserhood, often hanging out in the stoners bathroom at Calhoun High (in Texas) to forget that he's the polar opposite of his popular twin sister and the center of opprobrium to his parents. A particularly wicked smoke session ends badly, with Cameron hallucinating "fire giants" hell-bent on infernal destruction. Bad pot? Turns out, no. In the hospital he's diagnosed with advanced stages of Creutzfeldt-Jakob (aka Mad Cow Disease). He's visited by a pink-haired punk-rock angel named Dulcie and encourages him to take a road trip with his asthmatic, probably hypochondriac dwarf hospital roommate named Gonzo and find the elusive "Dr. X" to save his life.

Thus begins the Bray seemingly-stoned-splatfest where she wheels out the smörgasbord of projectiles: Bad-ass Nordic garden gnomes, snow globes, a bowling alley church of perpetual happiness (and unlimited 300 games and holy nachos), Buddha Burgers, Inuit pop stars, New Orleans jazz legends, string theory (and wormhole, and alternate reality) physicists, Schrödinger's Cat, Shithenge (not to be confused with the non-fecal stone version), corporate branding gone amok, reality TV, The Happiest Place On (seemingly) infinitum. Oh, yeah, can't forget Bray's glue: a healthy splooge of Cervantes' Don Quixote.

Yikes! It's tough to imagine all this splatted disparate arcana actually cohering into a work of art. I'll be the first to admit there are plenty of missteps on display here, but I've not been as consistently (if guiltily) fascinated by an author's imagination in quite a while.
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Reading Progress

June 25, 2016 – Started Reading
June 25, 2016 – Shelved
June 25, 2016 –
page 284
59.17% "This is the second book of the last four I've read (including The Sunlit Nightthat mentions Ragnarok and Yggdrasil Clearly, this must be a sign. I either.need to bust out with the Eddas, or score some amazing weed, (as Libba Bray was obviously baked out of her mind when she wrote this)."
June 28, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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message 1: by Deanna (new)

Deanna glad you enjoyed it...great review!!

message 2: by Angela M (new)

Angela M I probably won't read this but I'm glad I read your review, Robbie. I'm may have to borrow your term "loserhood" - love that .

message 3: by Katie (new)

Katie Great review. I especially loved the closing observation - "I'll be the first to admit there are plenty of missteps on display here, but I've not been as consistently (if guiltily) fascinated by an author's imagination in quite a while." Made me realise how important that response is, the fascination with an author's imagination.

message 4: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Masterson Great review, Robbie! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

Snotchocheez Deanna and Jen: Thank you!!

Angela: Thanks! (for liking and reading my review for a book you'd probably have little interest in.) Feel free to borrow "loserhood"; it's a word I've (of late) I've been applying to my own fool self and to several of Russo's lamers in the book I'm reading now, Everyone's Fool (a book I'm certain you'd have interest in reading!)

Katie: Thanks! I used to be a staunch dyed-in-the-wool realist but well-written iimaginative fantasies (Tom Robbins' Skinny Legs and All, most anything by Patrick Ness, and Ernest Cline's Ready Player One) are books I admire for the writers' imaginations taking me to places I wouldn't ordinarily wish to visit unbidden.

message 6: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" Awesome review Robbie! Probably not for me, but really enjoyed reading your review:)

Snotchocheez Thank you, DJ! This might just prove to be too silly for most (even YA readers with discerning palates) but somehow, it worked for me.

message 8: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" Why am I not surprised, hehe!

message 9: by Kat (new)

Kat Maria I need you to write my biography holy f

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