Going Bovine by Libba Bray
This was another book I picked up because it was part of the library’s summer teen survivor contest. This one I enjoyed a lot more than the other one.
Going Bovine is about 16-year-old Cameron who is pretty disappointed in life and his family when he starts seeing weird stuff. At first he just ignores it or attributes it to some bad pot, but eventually it gets to be too big to be ignored. The doctors diagnose him with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, otherwise known as mad cow disease. The rest of the book is one giant hallucination (or is it?). He sees an angel who sends him on a mission to find Dr. X who can cure him. The mission takes him all over the southern United States and teaches him a lot about himself and his family. It helps him to come to terms with his disease and his coming death.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about this book until the very end. It was a little wacky. (But maybe that was the point?) But as strange as everything that happened was, there was a still an element of the real about it that kept you wondering if it was all in Cameron’s head or if only part of it was. It also had some pretty good lines – my favourite:
‘Yes. Putopia. It stands for Parallel Universe Travel Office…pia.’ Dr. O. breaks in. ‘We haven’t figured out the whole acronym yet, but we wanted to secure the domain name before anyone else did.’
Also, Cameron was reading Don Quixote in his English class at school just before he was diagnosed and I suspect there are many parallels between the two novels but I haven’t read Don Quixote myself so I can’t say for sure. (Can anyone help me out with that?)
The book was well written, funny, poignant and enjoyable. The only complaint I have is that sometimes there was so much crazy going on I found it a little hard to follow. I also suspect there was a ton of symbolism and such that I missed out on. I bet this would be a great one to discuss in a high school English class though…