30 November 2010

GOING BOVINE by Libba Bray - Review for TWU course

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bray, Libba. 2009. Going Bovine.  New York, NY: Delacorte Books for Young Readers. ISBN 9780385733977.

PLOT SUMMARY
Cameron, a "slacker" high school student whose life seems to be crumbling, finds out he has Mad Cow Disease.  His journey from diagnosis through trying to save the world from the disease is a comedic adventure, often dark.  His companions are entertaining, each in their own right, as they travel his journey together, unwilling to give up simply because he is their friend.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

Cameron is a quiet, edgy sophomore with a sharp wit.  While he’s usually over looked and non-descript, contracting “mad cow disease” has tossed him into the center of attention.  His quick witted, sharp comeback personality makes him someone you want to be around, to see what will happen next, as you start to care about him and the fact that mad cow disease is fatal.

The story took an interesting and original look at the progression of the disease and how someone deals with it.  Throughout the reading I often wondered if these things were actually happening to the main character, or if while his mind was being turned to “Swiss cheese,” he was hallucinating the entire thing.  The wild adventure that he embarks on embraces dreams, wishes, and desires that I believe hit people when the frailty of life becomes reality.
Set in today’s world, it is easy to slip into the story and embrace the characters.  The realism is all too familiar in a teenage world, details quite accurate.  Looking at death so blatantly isn’t something that is fun to do, especially for invincible teens, but this certainly hit hard and will create some thought in readers, even though it may not be the type of thinking they want to do, the adult kind.

I completely enjoyed the author’s unique voice in this story.  Fans of her other works will find a fresh new view in this book.  Bray accurately depicts the various teenagers: outcast, popular, jock, druggies, to name a few.  As the mom of teenagers, I found the reality and language to be quite accurate, although shocking for some that are not ensconced in that world.  I think teens will find themselves in a comfortable world that Bray creates while exploring an uncomfortable subject.  Definitely recommend this for teens and their parents.

REVIEW EXCERPT(S)

2009 Children's Book Sense Pick


Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of the Year 2009

Booklist Books for Youth Editors' Choice in 2009

Michael L. Printz Award Winner 2010

School Library Journal  "Bray blends in a hearty dose of satire on the road trip as Cameron leaves his Texas deathbed—or does he?—to battle evil forces with a legendary jazz horn player, to escape the evil clutches of a happiness cult, to experiment with cloistered scientists trying to solve the mysteries of the universe, and to save a yard gnome embodying a Viking god from the clutches of the materialistic, fame-obsessed MTV-culture clones who shun individual thought. It's a trip worth taking, though meandering and message-driven at times. Some teens may check out before Cameron makes it to his final destination, but many will enjoy asking themselves the questions both deep and shallow that pop up along the way.
Booklist, starred review "An unforgettable, nearly indefinable fantasy adventure."

CONNECTIONS
The most obvious connection is to read Going Bovine, then follow up with Don Quixote, which is referenced throughout the book.  I find that references to other literary works make that referenced work almost irresistible. 
 

1 comment:

  1. I like your review :D Here's mine if you don't mind: http://lorxiebookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/02/going-bovine-by-libba-bray.html

    Thanks and have a nice day!

    ReplyDelete