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Going Bovine [Hardcover]

Libba Bray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: £11.08
Price: £10.77 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

22 Sep 2009
Can Cameron find what he’s looking for?

All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (22 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385733976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385733977
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14.8 x 3.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,215,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than microwave popcorn! 2 Mar 2010
Ever since Cameron was a child and had a near death experience he has never fitted in. Maybe it has something to do with his too-cool-for-school twin sister, one of the elite popular gang overshadowing his yet-to-be-revealed uniqueness? Maybe it's the funny shakes and temporary loss of the use of his limbs which makes him stand out from the crowd as odd? Maybe he's just an unpopular dope smoking, sixteen year old kid who loves his music and likes to swear a lot? A normal teenager, in other words. Sadly it's none of those things, which a trip to the hospital reveals. The reason he's been having problems lately is that he is Going Bovine. Somewhere he has caught BSE (mad cow disease) which will literally drive him mad and kill him if a cure is not found. And there isn't one.

Unless a pink-haired, boot wearing angel called Dulcie comes to you in your deluded dreams with a message that there is someone, a mysterious Dr. X, who can save you. This happens to Cameron and all he has to do is enlist help from his hospital roommate, Gonzo, and go on a road trip to find Dr. X to receive his cure. Easy when you know how, huh? Not quite. Dr. X is a little hard to find since he's into time travel and mistakenly left a crack in the wormhole and let something evil in. Something that will destroy not just Cameron and his chances of survival, but the whole damn universe. And they're hot, fiery, big fella's too!

"Omigod! This is SO cool!" Okay, I'm acting like one of the character's here, but it is the truth! How the author, Libba Bray, blends a story of a young boy suffering from a deadly serious mind degenerating disease, with Gonzo, a comedic hypochondriac dwarf, a warrior garden gnome named Balder, and a school project called Shithenge, I will never understand - but boy, does it work for me!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Libba Bray has seriously watched too many Teletubbies and Pingu episodes, or else how to explain this deliciously bizarre tour de surrealism? Going Bovine is everything you don't want your goody two-shoes kids to read: it's out-of-this universe, it's bleeped up, uncompromising and above all a complicated and unadulterated mess of fantastic everythingness. I'm sure the comparisons with Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy were aplenty when this first came out, but in all honesty, that's doing Libba Bray short. Going Bovine's main character Cameron is more akin to a Holden Caulfield in his quixotic search for the meaning of reality than he is to Arthur Dent of Hitchhiker fame.

Going Bovine has one of the most fantastic (in all meanings of the word!) premises ever: a main character (16-year-old reject Cameron) with mad cow disease has to save the universe - and in doing so himself - with his 2 sidekicks: the death-obsessed dwarf named Gonzo, and a talking garden gnome (Balder) who's also the incarnation of an Norse god... Cameron and Gonzo set out from Texas to Florida (because where else would you find the meaning of life?) and meet a pleiad of geeks, freaks, cultists and fratboys.

Libba Bray pulls out all the stops and takes us on an existential trip where she challenges us to think about the links between Walt Disney, Don Quixote, Emily Dickinson and the Wizard of Reckoning. Some of the cat's favorite scenes played out on the compound of CESSNAB, the Church of Everlasting Satisfaction and Snack-N-Bowl, whose tagline Don't Hurt Your Happiness is both hilarious and sad at the same time: happiness as the desired state of mind, which should be defended, in the most fundamentalist of ways....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 22 May 2010
By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER
All Cameron wants to do is graduate high school - and maybe get a date with popular girl, Stacy. When 16-year-old Cameron is diagnosed with Mad Cow Disease, his life takes a crazy turn. A punk rock angel named Dulcie shows up and tells Cameron there's a cure with a mysterious Dr. X - he just has to go and find it. With the help of a dwarf named Gonzo (who has some mother issues) and a yard gnome who just might be a Norse god, Cameron is off on the trip of a lifetime.

So, I actually picked this up several times and was excited to read it, but the premise just sounded strange - and not like my typical read, so I kept putting it off. Then the Printz committee awarded this one with the Printz medal and I knew I had to read it. I actually listened to it on audiobook, which I think worked well with this book.

It's a trippy book - and it's pretty hefty, coming in at almost 500 pages (or twelve audio discs in my case). It's also a book that won't work if you like everything to work out nicely and not be wondering was this a trip or was this real? It's definitely the craziest road trip book I've ever come across!

I have to praise Ms. Bray's writing and I can see why this won the Printz. The writing captivated me. I really believe she writes boy characters better than any other female author. Cameron read just like my teens at the library - he felt real and his voice was spot on. Just for that, this book deserves your attention.

Even though my knowledge of DON QUIXOTE doesn't go much past the Wishbon TV show version (sad, I know), from what I do know of the story, Ms. Bray gives us a modern twist with GOING BOVINE, and it's a perfect nod to the classic.
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