Going Bovine

I’m going to say it straight. You must read Going Bovine by Libba Bray.

This book reads like someone shoved Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and John Irving into the blender and hit puree.

Bray’s taken the failing life of 16-year-old Cameron, who’s dying from Mad Cow Disease, and made him into an adventurer out to save the world and himself. Or, at least, he thinks he’s out to save the world/himself, but when your mind’s turning into a sponge, who knows what’s what.

As it is, Cameron goes on a life-changing adventure that makes him and the reader see the world – in a properly random way. And then, of course, makes us promptly question everything about it.

Offered the chance to be cured, and save the world on the side, by a punk-angel (who could very well be a delusion of his mad-cow brain) Camera must finally take a pro-active stance in his life and do something.

Accompanied by a hypochondriac dwarf and a garden gnome who’s also a Norse god, Camera will go on the ride of his life. A ride full of comedy, awkward teenage situations, physicists, and music.

Going Bovine is a fast, action-paced read composed of hilarious comments and antics. But it’s underscored with grief, loss, mystery, and the idea of significance in everything.  

Cameron’s witty, and slightly snarky, view of life, mixed up with his life-and-death situation, makes for a “never forget me” read. And by the end, the reader is right there with Camera, wondering if they too had reached their demise or their cure.

This book will definitely make you appreciate the world around you, but, at the same time, will make you question it and your place in it. This isn’t a simple “why am I here” book. This is a complex “why the hell does life feel like a poorly made fun house” book.

And if all that didn’t intrigue you, maybe the beginning sentence will: “The best day of my life happened when I was five and I almost died at Disney World.”

— Oh, and that first link is to a hilarious interview with Libba Gray about Going Bovine.

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