Going Bovine Reading Guide Pre-reading List the ten best things and the 50 worst things about being in high school. Brainstorm with a friend or randomly assigned partner a list of ways to survive it. Compare with other groups. Discuss How is Cameron introduced to the reader? What memory gives us insight into his thinking and his family life?
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Apr 10, Annalisa rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: beware of an overuse of the f word, blah Recommended to Annalisa by: YA book club Shelves: young-adult , book-club , magical-realism , humor , satire , voice , cover Bray takes on the great Don Quixote and delivers more than a modern satire. She gives us a wild ride worthy of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz that is not only fun and hilarious but moving and exceptionally written. This novel is a monumental undertaking and somehow Bray accomplishes it.
In the beginning, I found Cameron wholly unrelatable, but Bray is so witty and has such a way with sarcastic metaphors and sneaking in description so you see and smell and hear and feel the book without Bray takes on the great Don Quixote and delivers more than a modern satire. Gets fired from his job with good reason. His only hobby seems to be to listen to music he hates so he can mock it. Shows no hope, no responsibility, and elicits zero sympathy from me.
But Bray managed to keep me interested in his story and smiling at her wit despite the f-word coming out in every sentence. On his travels, he takes a hypochondriac dwarf, picks up a talking garden gnome, and heads toward the happiest place on earth following clues of the seemingly random with help from a punk-rock angel. I laughed and smiled through all his misadventures that were really the adventure in disguise. The way Bray weaved everything in his life from snow globes to cartoons into this adventure so that it was not only important but part of some grander metaphor for his life was utter genius.
All you did was watch a movie or read a book. Just like you have to be in the right mood or the right person to appreciate Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz, you have to be there to appreciate this.
For all my disdain at the swearing and my initial turn-off to the character which ended up being necessary , for what the book accomplishes, I have to to say, "Wow.
I think this was my favorite detour. Bray also takes on our obsession with celebrities and extreme reality TV with the YA! Party House in a section that reeks of spring break on MTV. She shows what people will do for a little screen time of under the pressure of a cheering crowd. And Bray manages to criticize tacky knick-knack souvenirs in the process.
Plus, she takes on tabloid news and how much news gives rise to panic instead of information. I loved the employee stuff too, how impersonal corporate America has become. A lot of social satire packed into every storyline. I loved the Copenhagen International sections. What is the real meaning of "The Seven Ways to Say Snow" or any of those seemingly deep lyrics to big bands that everyone loves and sings along to without getting. I loved how the band tied into the quantum physics with "Dr.
X had a theory that certain musical frequencies could open up portals in the fabric of time and space. Something about the vibrations. He believed that music was in fact its own dimension. My favorite one is the Disney World e-ticket keeping him alive. The book starts with this line: "The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World. It is that memory, all of his memories, and his capability to think that keep him alive and give him existence.
Besides, how could a book of social satire in America not be pivoted around the happiest place on earth that is real to children but not real? X too. When I read that he was searching for Dr.
He just had to find it within himself. I found it interesting that he was dressed as a combination of a knight and a space age astronaut, a redressing of Don Quixote as a modern telling I did find it disrespectful to talk down the great Don Quixote with some of her slang and the f word.
The only class Bray takes the time to go into detail about is the discussion of that book "Is Don Quixote mad or is the world that embraces these ideals Things like Phantasos on the Mardi Gras parade: "We are weary travelers trying to find our way home on a road that never ends.
Am I part of your dream? Or are you but a part of mine? The Star Fighter movies that every kid memorizes because he wants to be the hero of a great adventure. The snow globes where the only way to have a perfect, unaltered life is not to live but be trapped in a glass cage.
The Road Runner cartoons with the coyote always chasing something he cannot reach and the episode with the doors of endless possibilities. The old lady across the hall who wants beauty when she dies. I am in most awe that Bray breaks a cardinal rule of YA fiction, especially first-person YA, and it works. I like the Cameron that meets Dulcie and decides to live instead of sneer at life. I loved how the ending brought his world around full circle back to Disney World and gave life to that existential moment of his youth when he realized life is all a charade.
The symbolism amazed me. Understanding and appreciating the material are secondary. A place much like high school. Do not ask for more.
No doubt any serial killer would take one look at the lavender walls covered with sensitive girl songwriter posters and dive out the window anyway. It cuts down on things like dissatisfaction, envy, competitiveness, longing, regret. All that bad stuff. Here, have a key chain. I would be an astronaut. Maybe a cartoonist. A famous explorer or rock star. Never once did I see myself standing under the window of a house belonging to some druggie named Carbine, waiting for his yard gnome to steal his stash so I could get a cab back to a cheap motel where my friend, a neurotic, death-obsessed dwarf, was waiting for me so we could get on the road to an undefined place and a mysterious Dr.
X, who would cure me of mad cow disease and stop a band of dark energy from destroying the universe. Now This. This is it, cowboy. The whole ride. Pay attention. Not great with subtlety.
His father is a college physics professor; his mother is a community college English teacher. One of the first scenes in the novel is of Cam having what he thinks is a marijuana-induced hallucination of flames during his English class. This public hallucination gets Cameron sent to multiple drug counselors, all while his hallucinations continue. While Cameron is hospitalized, the character Dulcie is introduced as a hallucination-induced vision. She is described to have been sent to give Cameron a mission to save the world from the character unknown to Cameron as Wizard of Reckoning.
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