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Moo Paperback – February 24, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
As it is, I think Smiley keeps the focus on the right characters. I understand the reviewers who wanted to see more of the students rather than the administrators and faculty, especially since I am a college student myself and could probably relate to their experiences more than those of the professors. But like I said-- I think Smiley's going for breadth, not depth. That said, I found some of the storyline resolutions unsatisfying. Some characters don't even seem to get a resolution in their stories, they just drop out of the novel 30 pages before it ends.Read more ›
Everyone will recognize some familiar characters in this book. There are the four freshman girls living together--Mary, Keri, Sherri and Dianne--each of whom is drastically different, but borrows the others' clothes anyway. Then there's Bob Carlson, who doesn't know how to socialize with anyone but Earl Butz. Gary has a crush on his roommate's girlfriend and eavesdrops whenever they fight. English professor Tim can't keep his attention focused on any one woman long enough to establish a real relationship. The secretary to the Provost doesn't hide the fact that she controls EVERYTHING on campus and off, including her girlfriend Martha. Economics professor Lionel Gift believes he's God's gift to Costa Rica, as well as the rest of the world, often dropping the fact that he's in "some Rolodex" at the New York Times to impress people. One farmer, a frequent visitor to the provost, believes the FBI, the CIA and the big ag companies are out to get him, so he wears a bulletproof vest to protect himself.
These characters, weaved in and out of each other's lives, bring a rural campus to life with scandal, betrayal, but most of all, humor. Though Moo's huge cast can be confusing at times, it's a must-read for anyone in or graduated from college that never fails to bring a smile to your face.
Moo is a tour de force of satire on life at an agricultural university (known as Moo U., in the parlance) that scathingly leaves no cow pie unkicked. Smiley uses the hypocrisy, prejudice, and self-importance of the characters as a metaphor for our entire society. No one who reads this outrageous novel will ever forget Earl Butz, the Herculean pig that becomes such an obsession for more than one of the quirky characters that sometimes teeter on the edge of caricature. That quality and the fact that the whole charade seemed to go on about 100 pages too long is the only reason for 4 stars instead of 5.
A great book, nontheless.
Set in a fictional Iowa university town, Moo U. is as much fun as a roller-coaster ride and features a cast of characters that are nothing short of hilarious. There is English professor, Tim Monahan, who is perpetually preoccupied with his always-imminent raise and promotion; provost Ivar Harstad, who is coping with the governor's cuts in university funding; and Bo Jones' secret experiment involving a hog named Earl Butz. Really!
And, it only gets better. There is Dr. Lionel Gift who gets hopelessly involved with a Texas billionaire named Arlen Martin. The two cook up a project to mine gold from the world's last virgin rainforest, a project that incurs the wrath Chairman X, a man so caught up in leftist ideology he forgets to marry the mother of his children...for more than twenty years. And best of all, there is Mrs. Walker, the plotting and conniving lesbian secretary to the provost who secretly runs everything at Moo U. with an iron hand.
If it seems like Smiley doesn't write much about education in this book about university life, then that's exactly right, for education has little to do with the day-to-day goings-on at Moo U. Moo U. and its cast of off-beat characters are really a microcosm of America under the Reagan Administration and Moo U. could be any university in the United States.
The only thing wrong with Moo is that, while it is supposed to be satire, it just misses the mark. Don't get me wrong, this is a hilarious book and a hilarious send-up, but I think true satire requires a harder heart than Smiley seems to have. The ending is a bit of a letdown, especially after the rollicking good ride Smiley has taken us on to get us there. Anyone who doesn't mind a bit of a letdown, however, will find Moo an enjoyable and hilarious book that makes fun of just about everything.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A little sow and difficult to read but if oyu get into it , its fun.Published 9 days ago by S. Thomas
How could one not give 5 stars to a book which was born as the Berlin Wall came down and which is still relevant to today's cultural landscape. Read morePublished 3 months ago by John G
Jane Smiley is one of the best writers working today. She never disappoints. A Smiley book is a major reading event.Published 5 months ago by patsygray
I found the book only mildly amusing--I was disappointed. The characters are so improbable that it's hard to care what happens to them. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lawrence J. Lujan
While I don't necessarily mind the author moving from character to character, I found it very difficult to keep track of who was who. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Ann Perryman
Jane Smiley knows how to write gentle satire. Moo is a spoof of all the petty machinations that go on in any institution of higher learning anywhere in the world. Read morePublished 9 months ago by francescogtomassi