I stumbled upon Going Bovine while looking at past Printz award winners, marking off the ones I've read and adding the ones I haven't to my to-read list.
I decided to push it to the top of my to-read list when I saw Libba's take on it on the book's Amazon page. I really love books that are concurrently quirky and insightful.
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 - Goodreads.
Cameron's just your average teenager. He hates high school, his parents expect too much from him, and he covets the cheerleader he'll never have. So, when he starts hallucinating, he think it must just be some bad pot. But then he goes to the hospital, tests are done, and it turns out he has Creutzfeldt-Jakob's disease. Or rather, mad cow disease. He's dying, and going crazy along the way, and there's no cure.
One of his recurring hallucinations takes the form of Dulcie: an pink-haired angel clad in punk chic. She tells him one Dr. X found his way into other dimensions and through time and space, and in the process, opened a wormhole unleashed 'dark energies' on the world.
Cameron's ready to ignore this particular hallucination, until she tells him that Dr. X has the cure to his disease. He then throws caution to the wind, knowing he's going to die anyway, and sets out to find this Dr. X, with a hypochondriac dwarf and a lawn gnome possessed by a Norse God in tow.
What makes me love this book so much is just how...crazy it all is. Each obstacle on the way to Dr. X is hilarious and zany, though believable. I love the character's, too. Especially Gonzo and Balder (the aforementioned dwarf and God).
More so than that, I love the way in amongst all the insanity and hilarity, there's still meaning to it. My favorite scene must be where Cameron and Dulcie are at the wishing tree, where everyone pins their handwritten wishes for them to come true. The way someone else's scrawled "I wish to live..." inspired Cameron to seek out the cure.
The ending is fairly love-hate, though. I've heard as many reviews loving it as I have hating it. Personally, I loved it. It fit. A spoiler, but this kind of story wasn't meant to finish happily ever after with all the loose ends all tied up neatly.
I give Going Bovine a 6 out 5.
In the comments, as always, tell me your thoughts on Going Bovine, if you've read it. If not, tell me how likely you are to consider reading it after this review. And for both categories, tell me what you'd like to see me review in the near future.