Thursday, December 16, 2010
Book 55 - Going Bovine
Yes, yes I do. And such is the case with Going Bovine.
Libba Bray may be one of the most talented writers I have ever read. From a craft perspective, she's tight, witty and brilliant with dialogue. The characters grabbed me right from the first chapter, especially Cameron, a high-school kid whose biggest worry is whether his sister's friend will ever sleep with him, or if his teachers will catch him smoking a joint in the boy's room.
Until he learns he has the human form of Mad Cow Disease and is dying.
Having worked communications in the agriculture industry for quite a few years, I worried a little about how the "mad cow" messaging would be delivered. Food safety is everyone's concern and once a myth is perpetuated, it's tough to dispel.
Not to worry - Bray glosses over the issue and gets to the heart of Cameron's struggle - figuring out what's real and what's just a symptom of him going...mad. (Clever, clever title.) Bray had me riveted right up until the diagnosis. I was so caught up in the brilliance of her style, I actually lost track of the story and couldn't figure out myself what was real or part of Cameron's mind playing tricks on him.
I do remember Dulcie, a punk angel who urges Cameron to take a journey to find Dr. X and ultimately a cure. And so the road trip begins...
And my interest faded... Cameron is joined by a couple of sidekicks - a short guy and a talking garden gnome - and I *know* there's some deeper messages I missed, but I kind of became bored with the whole "extraordinary adventure"thing. Maybe it's because I never read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (which is often referenced when people talk about Going Bovine) or maybe I simply had too much else on my mind these past few weeks.
Since Karen and I started the 100 Books in 2010 challenge, I've almost always carried a novel in my purse. I kept forgetting Going Bovine at work, at home, somewhere out of reach...And I struggled through to the end. Unlike me.
It's sad, because as mentioned above, Bray is a brilliant writer and I desperately wanted to love this book. Maybe I'll give it another try in the New Year when life feels a little less hectic.
The Book in My Bag Today: Afraid, Jack Kilborne