Going Bovine: Okay


And why shouldn’t there be a book about a teenager who gets Mad Cow Disease, has an angel send him on a mission to save the world, finds a Norse-God/garden gnome and has sex on the set of Girls Gone Wild? Indeed Libba Bray’s Going Bovine is as surprising its enjoyability as it is plot events.

I didn’t like the book for the first thirty of so pages. Too hip. Too pushy in its short sentences, curses and angst. But somewhere around the diagnosis I bought in and rooted for Cameron while he undertook his epic adventure. I could still do without some of the scenes where the “real meaning” of events is so heavy-handed I wonder whether the young adults of the intentional audience might in fact be infants incapable of deciphering a symbol (i.e. the church/mall of happiness ensures your happiness by insisting you buy things and consume. their happiness is… hollow).

I felt uncomfortable in the scene when Cameron loses his virginity to a drunk teenager. You can’t consent when drunk. Even in a novel. Especially in a novel.

I did like the ending. I appreciated the collapse of the disparate symbols and images into one mass of symbolic mayhem. I liked the attempt at offering young people digestible philosophy (you must make your life meaningful, you can make your life meaningful). I liked the conclusion of Cameron’s quest. So if you feel like an unpredictable, often inexplicable, series of adventures across the US along with a sick protagonist who changes in measurable (and predictable) ways, by all means, Go Bovine.


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Filed under 100 Books of 2011, Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

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