February 28, 2010

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Date Started: Feb 14
Date Finished: Feb 26

Summary: Cameron Smith was a slacker with a penchant for marijuana, ditching class, and working a dead-end job (that he subsequently gets fired from). Then after some violent spasms and involuntarily punching a jock in the gut (his twin sister's boyfriend no less), Cameron finds out that he is dying from mad cow disease. He meets a punk rock angel named Dulcie who encourages him to find Dr. X, save the universe, and most importantly get a cure. Cameron travels the South with a slightly neurotic little person named Gonzo and a viking yard gnome named Balder.

Likes: The story was beautifully written and very different than Bray's other work the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. Cameron's voice was clear and fun to read. The author doesn't hold back. The characters cuss, drink, smoke, but yet they do not come off as the typical teenager or for Cameron, the stereotypical slacker. All of the characters, even the minor ones, are fully rounded, flawed, but ultimately three dimensional. They are easy to relate to, despite their differences between the reader and the characters themselves. We've all had those moments when we have to grieve, whether it be the loss of a friend or coming to grips with your own life and ultimately your own death.

The whole story is tragic. As a reader, you don't know whether this is reality or a exaggerated hallucination. You get glimpses of the hospital, the family standing vigil over his bed, then you get this over-the-top roadtrip. The author doesn't make you feel sorry for the character. Instead you feel Cameron's emotions, his anger, his uncertainty, and ultimately his acceptance of the inevitable. This is a coming-of-age story about a boy learning to live and celebrate life.

Dislikes: It was long. I almost gave up because it was due back to the library, but I didn't want any more library fines (I am notorious for racking up some hefty fines). I'm glad I kept with it though. There are parts that were dragging, but once all the pieces come together, the story picks up and takes off. I will gladly pay what ever fines I have to pay for turning this book in late.

Overall: This is such a huge "deviation" from the Gemma Doyle series. It's like Bray decided to do the complete opposite for her next book. It's obvious that she has the skills do this. This is such a great book with a great male protagonist. Read it and you will not be disappointed.


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