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Going Bovine Paperback – September 28, 2010
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"Libba Bray not only breaks the mold of the ubiquitous dying-teenager genre—she smashes it and grinds the tiny pieces into the sidewalk. For the record, I'd go anywhere she wanted to take me."—The New York Times
"Offer this to fans of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy seeking more inspired lunacy."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"An unforgettable, nearly indefinable fantasy . . . wholly unique, ambitious, tender, thought-provoking, and often fall-off-the-chair funny."—Booklist, Starred Review
"Readers will have a great time."—The Horn Book
"It's a trip worth taking."—SLJ
"Here's one book about dying that has a wicked sense of humor."—The Denver Post
"A laugh-out-loud tear-jerking fantastical voyage into the meaning of what is real in life."—VOYA
"A very messed-up book, but in a good way. . . .Hilarious, random, surreal and thought-provoking."—Guys Lit Wire
One of Entertainment Weekly's 8 Great Road-Trip Books
Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
An Indie Next Pick
A Booklist Books for Youth Editors' Choice
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best book
A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
About the Author
Libba Bray is the New York Times bestselling author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing); the Michael L. Printz Award-winning Going Bovine; Beauty Queens, an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist; and The Diviners series. She is originally from Texas but makes her home in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, son, and two sociopathic cats. Visit her at www.libbabray.com and at @libbabray on Twitter and Instagram.
Top customer reviews
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He escapes with a fellow hospital resident and embarks on an ill-defined quest, roughly paralleling Don Quixote, his latest school assignment, as he follows angels to New Orleans and beyond in a road trip populated with absurd characters.
This novel is as satirical and snarky as Beauty Queens but not as successful, bogging down as the story becomes less and less coherent.
Still enjoyable. I will definitely read more by this author.
From the first page, I enjoyed the "in your face" first person narrative. The language and attitude matched the character perfectly. While the quirky style was engaging early in the story and the off-the-wall approach was intriguing during the initial fantasy sequences, I began to experience overload by the midway point and was ready for the conclusion.
Each generation needs their own cult "hero journey" novel. For my generation, it was Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The surreal and sarcastic aspects are perfect for the high school crowd that enjoys unconventional novels.
"The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World."
Going Bovine opens with one of the most hilarious scenes that i have ever read and really hooked me in as a reader. having grown up in Florida, i spent an unreasonable amount of my childhood at Disney World and reveled in the nostalgia of the opening scenery (and the later scenes throughout the Florida landscape).
the book follows our narrator Cameron, who is at the high end of the loser spectrum, destined to work the fast food drive through (or something equally loser-ish) for the rest of his life. but, when he is diagnosed with mad cow disease and is hospitalized, his "barometer on reality" tips back and forth and we lose track of reality along with Cameron. he finds himself on a quest against time to find the mysterious Dr. X, who can both provide a cure and save the world from conspiring evil forces.
the characters were well developed and plentiful, from a jazz legend to a talking garden gnome and everything in between. my absolute favorite was Dulcie, the punk rock guardian angel, though Gonzo, the hypochondriac dwarf, came in as a close second, as a pretty admirable sidekick type. even the characters who made cameo appearances were pretty memorable and i was definitely impressed with the range of characterization present in a single book.
Bray's writing is sharp and witty and moves at a fairly quick pace, which i found to be very refreshing. there is a lot of punchy cynicism regarding consumers and religious fanatics and more, which really allows the book to be interpreted from multiple angles. there is a lot of depth if you prefer, but it's just as easily a nice and fluffy, funny read if that's what you prefer. but, the dialogue is where this book shined the most for me. if you like biting, wildly untraditional humor that isn't compelled to make any sense at all, you'll love this.
"Whoa," I say. Or at least, I think that's what I say. I'm stoned. For all I know I could have said, "Board the cows! We've come to enslave your marigolds." This makes me laugh, chuckling all to myself in the back.
just be warned, as a Young Adult book, this is full of the things that teens are drawn towards - sex, drugs and rock and roll. if that offends or upsets you, i wouldn't even bother with this book.
my only qualm was that i would occasionally lose interest and would need to put the book down for a rest. the rambling nature of the storyline, with Cameron's cross country quest to find Dr. X, along with the length of the book, made for some segmented reading. it kind of reminded me of when i watched Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. it was just so out there, as is Going Bovine, and i had to get back to reality a bit before i could plunge back into the story. and to be fair, it did all come together for a pretty interesting and meaningful conclusion.
and this is a complete and total aside, but i had to include this #pantyworthy quote because it made me snort when i read it:
"Gonzo slaps his leg, chortling. "He's tearing that uke up! Go, badass girly-singing man!"
"I bet the women throw their underwear," I crack.
"I want to throw my underwear! Pull over so I can take it off!""
yep, like i said, the book is hilarious. go read it.
Going Bovine is a supremely fun and enjoyable book with unforgettable characters and profound insight into life. It's a fresh and singular take on Don Quixote -- who also had hallucinations, of course -- and Sancho Panza, where every signpost along the road is significant. It's elegantly structured, and uses string theory to explore themes of love, friendship, and what makes a life worth living. A whip-smart (but unpretentious), funny (but also sad), wonderful book.
My only complaint is that it doesnt get really juicy til the last few hundred pages. Up until then you kind feel like your Gonzo... like your being dragged around by a crazy friend that you dont have the heart to blow off. Not that it isnt interesting, though. Once you make it to that last few hundred pages though it really makes you think about what it means to really live and what it feels like to find your first true love. I shed a tear in a few spots, lol.
As a fan of the Gemma Doyle Series I was pleased with this book. Though I will say that while the GDS is definitely more female geared and boys most likely wouldn't enjoy it, young men will more than likely thoroughly enjoy Going Bovine.
Loved it just like her other work.