Review Blog

Jun 20 2010

Going bovine by Libba Bray

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Allen and Unwin, 2010. ISBN 9781742372907.
(Age 15+) Highly recommended. Winner of the prestigious US Michael L Printz Award Libba Bray's Going Bovine is the wonderful story of Cameron Smith, a misfit sixteen-year-old. He leads a boring teenage life, working at the Buddha Burger and slacking his way through school, never trying to compete with his perfect sister. When he starts to get sick he is diagnosed with Mad Cow Disease and told he is going to die. Dulcie, an angel dressed in punk clothes, appears and assures him that there is a cure if he's willing to go after it. From then on, Cameron goes on a mad road trip with Gonzo, a hypochondriac dwarf and Balder, a Norse god disguised as a garden gnome.
Libba Bray has written a complicated story where the reader has to make decisions all the time about whether Cameron is hallucinating or is really on a road trip. Interspersed are comments on physics and philosophy, life and love. This is not a book for the faint hearted. It is 478 pages long, full of weird memories, comments about the world and lots of self-discovery for Cameron. Bray brings it to a very satisfying ending with her brilliant writing.
The complex ideas, satire and commentary on materialism as well as references to drugs and some strong language make this a book for the older teen, especially those who like strange and wacky stories like The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy by Douglas Adams.
Pat Pledger

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