Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review (Book) - Going Bovine by Libba Bray

“Saving the world. That’s impossible. Insane. Still. A cure. I could be cured. That’s what she said. And some little atoms come awake inside me, swirling into a question I can’t shake: “Why the hell not?” I could have a chance. And a chance is better than nothing.” (back cover)

Honestly, I sort of feel incapable of reviewing this book. I thought waiting a while to let my unexpected reaction(s) sink in would make things easier, but now I feel like I’ve already forgotten half the book.

The first chapter of the book led me to believe this book would be the best thing since sliced bread. I mean, come on, a Disney freak reading a book's opening about jumping off ‘it’s a small world’ to be taken away in a Disney ambulance? WOW! But it went downhill from there - FAST.
  • First off, if you don’t care for foul language and/or don’t want your children reading it in excess, this book is not for you. I would guess that, if you took the average of the books entire 480 pages, would still be more curse words per page than you could count on one hand.
  • Second, the first half of the book reads simply as the story of a horny, miserable, unpopular, teenage boy who feels sorry for himself, and really has no life but hates what life he has, who has no aspirations for his life but to “FINALLY” get laid and spend the rest of his life getting high. Sounds awesome right?
    • I had to listen to the first half of the book on CD to get through it (I also had to give it two tries to make it through)…and if the story wasn’t bad enough, Erik Davies (narrator for the audiobook) sounded like he was just as bored with Cam (that horny, etc. teenage boy I mentioned earlier – the main character of the story) and ready to stab himself in the eye with an ice pick as I was. I can kind of understand his tone for the first half, but it never really changed, even when something magical happened…
Cam is in the hospital when a punk-rock angel named Dulcie sends him on a life-altering, world-saving adventure (see quote from back cover above), and the story actually starts to improve! By the time Cam goes to a college party and leaves with Balder (a Norse god cursed to live life as a yard gnome until he is set free by a noble rescuer), things got good enough for me to pick up the book again and read during the times I couldn’t be in my car listening to the story.

In fact, it improved so much that I can say that even after all that ranting, overall I actually liked this book. It’s certainly not as good as the Gemma Doyle trilogy, and I definitely think Bray could have cut out about a third of the book and still got where she was going (like I certainly don’t hate gay people – or whatever the PC term for it is these days – but was there really a point to Gonzo getting a boyfriend other than to show that she supports same-sex relationships?), but the book was good enough to make me cry at the end, rather than from wishing it would end.

A few of my favorite parts:
  • When Balder interprets the Portuguese emo singer Cam and Gonzo are fans of – ““Eu considerei a sua cara e sabia a felicidade,’ Balder murmurs from the backseat, his eyes still closed. “I Looked upon your face and knew happiness.”” (p. 295) – OH MY GOSH, I LOVED THIS! I’m going to use this line in my wedding vows if I can find a way…
  • Dulcie’s comment that “Things can change…It’s the one constant of this universe.” (p.358) and “Iphigenia”’s conversation including the lines “Figuring out who you really are is hard work…nobody wants to be themselves. That’s why there’s TV.” (p. 373) – probably the “deepest” comments in the book.
Does Cam figure out who he really is? Does he save the world? I’ll give this book a good enough rating for you to find out on your own.

Though…you could probably read the first few chapters, then skip ahead to the diagnosis and not really miss anything, getting to the best part of the book faster.

This Young Adult book can be found on Amazon here, and again, if you are a librarian, DO NOT recommend this book without the disclaimer that there is a LOT of foul language.


  1. For someone who told me to get back to blogging, you sure need to also! LOL. I miss your posts.

  2. Very true. School is over on the 27th, so I plan on blogging again after that. :)

  3. This is one of those books that I've had on my TBR list for awhile and have never managed to get to.

  4. I have not read this book and do not intend to :) but I am wondering if it is really meant for "young adults" or is it meant for a larger audience? My theory that I've been forming since joining Book Blogs is that the huge trend of the last couple of years is adults reading YA in droves. So YA books seem to be getting more mature, even though they have teens as the main characters. Not sure, just my opinion, but otherwise who can account for books dealing with unlimited cursing, and a main plot being he wants to get" laid"? Books sure have changed sine I was a teen (smile)--good review! Rae


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