Saturday, February 27, 2010

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Cameron Smith is a sixteen-year-old student in Texas who has never quite fit in, unlike his twin sister, Jenna. She always knows what to say and what to wear and is surrounded by the popular crowd at school. When Cameron is diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob - mad cow - disease, his terminal illness suddenly puts him into the spotlight. A pink-haired angel in combat boots encourages Cameron to escape from the hospital and embark on a wacky road trip in search of a cure. His helpers in this quest are a Mexican dwarf and a Nordic god in the form of a garden gnome.

The story is narrated in Cameron's entertaining, sarcastic voice. I never found him entirely believable, as a character. He is obviously smart, but I wanted to understand why he was so lacking in ambition and so detached from care for anyone or any thing. The story moves along at a fast clip, keeping the reader slightly off-balance. Is Cameron dreaming? Is he experiencing multiple dimensions of reality - or is it dementia?

It's a playful romp, layered with social commentary, pop culture and literary references. The open ending suits the storyline. Many aspects of this upbeat, superficially philosophical book reminded me of Douglas Coupland's Generation A. It is quite different - and to my mind better - than Bray's 19th century Gemma Doyle series. Grade 9 - up.


Loraine said...

I like your review :D Here's mine if you don't mind:

Thanks and have a nice day!

Lindy said...

Hi Loraine, thanks for your comment and for visiting my blog. I looked at your list of books you reviewed last year and 17 of them are books I've read too. Cool!