Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

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The Lowdown
Cameron Smith is a (sort of) normal teenager. He stays semi-aware of what’s going on around him and occasionally hangs out in the “smokers lounge” bathroom in his school. That is until he starts to have some crazy-mad hallucinations. When fire giants appear out of nowhere and chase you around, something is definitely wrong.

Cam’s parents think he’s on drugs, and Cameron hasn’t a clue what’s going on. All he knows is that he’s seeing some crazy stuff and he doesn’t feel too hot. The doctors finally tell him that he had Mad Cow Disease...not what your average teenager expects to hear.

From this moment on, Cameron’s life journey gets really exciting, scary, and crazy all at the same time. Unexpectedly, he teams up with Gonzo, a little person who games constantly and always thinks he’s dying. Determined not to let mad cow get the best of him, and also determined to save the world, Cameron and Gonzo start off on the mother of all road trips. They go to New Orleans to hang out with dead jazz artist, end up living for a while in a “happiness” cult, and spend spring break at the Party House!! They also learn about and contemplate human existence, string theory, and many other philosophies. Climb into Cameron’s mind and into his car to take the journey of a lifetime.

What I Liked
In the most hilarious way, Bray’s book makes us look deep at ourselves and what we do in the world. The teens at the party house are insane and just want to be on television. The kids at the happiness cult don’t want anything bad to every happen to anyone. So many of the adventures that Cameron and Gonzo go on show humans at their most interesting. For example, while the two are at the happiness cult, where everyone wants to keep his/her happiness at the max all the time, Cameron tries to check out a book...The library girl tells him, “You can turn it in at the end of the week. Or whenever, really. It’s just a formality. We find that requiring things of people and making them responsible is a big drag, and that is so not happy. Enjoy!” I found myself always laughing out loud at the sardonic wit of many of Bray’s characters and the complete and utter idiocy of others. All these people together made for a very interesting ride.

I also really loved that all of Bray’s plot lines and ideas really came together in interesting ways as I read. So much craziness is thrown about during this road trip, yet Bray kept control of it all and it, somehow, all made perfect sense when I was done...or as much sense as it could.

Read this if...
You want a fun ride.
You want to go on a road trip.
You want to meet Baldar, son of Odin, a great Norse god...and party with him!
You want to laugh at crazy people.
You want to save the world from a black hole.
You want to think about why we’re here and what this crazy life is all about.

Grade: A-

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