I recently finished reading a book called Going Bovine, written by Libba Bray. In this surreal and darkly comedic novel, Libba Bray tells the story of Cameron, a boy who begins as your average aimless, lazy, angst-ridden 16-year-old when suddenly, he is diagnosed with a rare disease called Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, otherwise known as Mad Cow disease. As Cameron’s brain is slowly eaten away by his condition, he begins to lose control of himself both mentally and physically. After discovering that he has a very limited amount of time left to live, he proceeds to go on the adventure of his life. Accompanied by a misunderstood garden gnome, his hypochondriacal friend Gonzo and lead by Dulcie (a mysterious punk rock angel); Cameron travels across the country in the hopes of saving himself, and the world, from greater evil forces. In the meantime, he discovers and mends valuable relationships between his friends and family, and accomplishes everything that he once held back from doing.
The quirky, interesting and creative way in which the novel is written pushes the reader to constantly question the difference between reality and Cameron’s hallucinations. This novel focuses on the theme of self deception; the way in which you can make yourself believe something that is not true. I think that the most intriguing question that this novel leaves us to consider is; which is stronger, the raw reality of our world or the way in which we perceive it? And how does that affect our actions and decisions?
Throughout the story, Libba Bray hints at a connection between this book and the novel Don Quixote; the famous story of a man named Alonso Quijano who reads so many books about romance and chivalry that he begins to perceive himself as a character of fantasy. Both Cameron and Alonso lead very simple, average lives that are turned into opposite realities though their own perceptions/hallucinations.
Libba Bray has an outstanding writing style that will intrigue and carry the reader into a whole new world. I would certainly recommend this book to readers of all different genres and those who can appreciate a good cliffhanger.