Cameron Smith, 16, is slumming through high school, overshadowed by a sister “pre-majoring in perfection,” while working (ineptly) at the Buddha Burger. Then something happens to make him the focus of his family's attention: he contracts mad cow disease. What takes place after he is hospitalized is either that a gorgeous angel persuades him to search for a cure that will also save the world, or that he has a vivid hallucination brought on by the disease. Either way, what readers have is an absurdist comedy in which Cameron, Gonzo (a neurotic dwarf) and Balder (a Norse god cursed to appear as a yard gnome) go on a quixotic road trip during which they learn about string theory, wormholes and true love en route to Disney World. Bray's surreal humor may surprise fans of her historical fantasies about Gemma Doyle, as she trains her satirical eye on modern education, American materialism and religious cults (the smoothie-drinking members of the Church of Everlasting Satisfaction and Snack 'N' Bowl). Offer this to fans of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy seeking more inspired lunacy.
Okay, first I just have to say that Going Bovine was one of the most funniest and also the strangest book I have ever come across. Not that it's a bad thing. So there's Cameron just trying to get through highschool like the rest of us, I guess one could say that he's unhappy with his life. He gets some slight oblivion from his parents, including his sister. He doesn't really mind that, he just wants to live his life as "normal"as possible. Until one day he ironically discovers about his disease, Mad Cow Disease thus leads him to be hospitalized. Mentioned in the overview above, this punk-rock-pink angel called Dulcie comes to his side and tells him to go on a roadtrip, find a cure from a so-called "Doctor X" and save the whole world, whoopee.
Now, readers can look at this book in two different ways; that Dulcie came for him and told him about taking that road trip or that he has some severe hallucinations in his head about the roadtrip because as his brain worsens over Mad Cow's. Whichever way they want to look at the book, Going Bovine will take them on one heck of a cool yet strange journey. He takes Gonzo and Balder with him on this roadtrip across America and they went on to discover so many things. This is simply a coming-of-age story, with some crazy twist to it. Readers will find themselves, laughing, smiling and raising their eyebrows. I know I did all of it.
The plot was digestible, although some parts of the story were just too long and some parts of the chapters just lingers on and never really added much to the story. But I stuck by the story because I felt that it was really worth reading. People might not really like Cameron during the beginning of the book, mostly because of his smart-assed humor and language. But if readers will just hang a little bit longer, they would start to feel for him because of the experiences he had within these pages. I found myself laughing and nodding to the many observations that Libba Bray has put into this book, for example, about modern day life, like school and life as a whole. There are times where I almost quit on the book, but I kept on reading and I appreciated Libba's work at the end.
This story will definitely tickle readers' funnybones and it will tug on their heartstrings. No matter how absurdly funny this book is, never a word of this book is dull.
Again, if I had to grade this book, it would be: