Isn’t that a sickening front cover?
Everything’s wrong with it.
Orange on grey? Oh, I really don’t think so. It’s a terrible title: dodgy author’s name, too. It has tag lines – what’s it trying to be, a film? And the cow-and-garden-gnome combination looks like something that should be on the cover of a distressingly specialized periodical.
I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to hating this book from the very first page. I was salivating. The knives were sharpened. I was rehearsing ways of getting the Fawlty Towers line ‘insert a large garden gnome in you’ into this review somewhere.
But Going Bovine cheated me. I couldn’t begin to dislike it even slightly until I was one hundred odd pages from the end. Up to that point, I was having a ball.
Our narrator, Cameron, is a marvellously clichéd, moderately disaffected American teen. He can’t really relate to others, can’t get laid, his sister’s better at school and socialising than he is and his parents suck. He spends most of his time buying vinyl from (and avoiding meaningful conversations with) jazz freak Eubie. Otherwise, he can be found flipping burgers, or you can track him down by tracing the source of the reefer smoke. He can also occasionally be located in the company of gamers who like discussing the wilder conceptual problems thrown up by physics (Schrödinger’s cat, etc.). Continue reading