Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Review by Susan, Staff member, Central Branch
Going Bovine by Libba Bray is about Cameron, a less than ambitious teen, somewhat cynical, with an amusingly sarcastic sense of humor. He is not very noticeable, nor popular with the “in-crowd”, (does he really care about that?). His twin sister, a cheerleader, is nearly perfect, of course, as well as her ex-football star boyfriend. Family life is drab and disappointing.
One day in class he starts to “see” things. These develop into enough intense “hallucinations” that serve to get him expelled from high school, then taken to a drug counselor and a psychiatrist. Finally, after having been prescribed mind numbing anti-psychotic drugs, it is discovered that he has contracted Mad Cow Disease, an illness that is fatal and affects the brain. An explanation for his hallucinations? Or are they REALLY hallucinations? His quest to survive the disease begins: adventures that are hilarious, fantastical, soul and mind expanding, plus mournfully sad-all at the same time. His adventures parallel Don Quixote, a book that he was required to read in a class he found most uninteresting. He is no longer uninterested in life however, once the diagnosis is made, and his journey is truly exceptional and heroic. The reader is pushed to ask, “What was real or imagined”? I chose to believe that it was ALL real.