Sunday, April 11, 2010
going bovine by Libba Bray.
****Jeanne heaves a big sigh****
I wanted to love this book. I tried to love this book. Really, I did! I think I gave it a fair shot. I read 120 pages, but I just couldn't take it anymore!
I know, I know.... it's gotten rave reviews, everyone loves it. Sadly, I don't. :(
going bovine is about a 16 year-old boy named Cameron who mysteriously contracts Cruetzfeldt-Jakobs disease (a.k.a. mad cow disease). Cruetzfeldt-Jakobs is a horrible disease that basically eats away at the brain, leaving it with "holes" (like swiss cheese), so the sufferer has memory loss, outbursts, hallucinations, loss of motor skills, and eventually coma and death. Also called "spongiform bovine encephalitis" because it leaves the brain with the appearance and feel of a sponge, and it affects cows. Supposedly people can get it from eating contaminated beef.
There are 3 major types of Cruetzfeldt-Jakobs:
---sporadic, which happens spontaneously (no one knows why)
---familial, which happens from genetics (someone in your family had it)
---acquired, which happens when eating contaminated beef.
But this isn't a medical lesson.
Anyway, in the book Cameron has CJ, but no one knows why. The beginning of the book was very promising to me - going into detail about the symptoms that Cameron was experiencing, along with his feelings on having this fatal disease.
Cameron seemed very real to me. I will go so far as to compare him Holden Caulfield in The Catcher In The Rye. He is (understandably) angry that he is going to die, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. And he doesn't apologize for that anger (hence the comparison to Holden, who is also an angry, disenchanted character with no apologies).
This is where the book took a disappointing turn for me. Enter Dulcie, a "punk-rock" angel if you will, who appears to Cameron. She has bright pink hair, black & white checkered wings, multiple piercings, etc. Fine. That's not where my problem lies. My problem is with this fantasy-like genre. All of a sudden there are wizards and angels, and all kinds of fantastical happenings. You don't know if Cameron is hallucinating or what. It's just not my cup of tea.
I had a hard time following all of the goings-on. Is this real? Is Cameron dreaming? Are these hallucinatory visions that are so common with CJ disease?
According to Dulcie, who we don't even know is "real" or a vision or what, Cameron has two weeks to find Dr. X who could possibly have the secret to the cure of Cruetzfeldt-Jakobs.
Okay, that does it for me!
I had to stop reading around page 121. It just took on this science fictiony/fantasy type feel to it, and I'm just not into that kind of thing. Had it continued with Cameron's story on a more "realistic" level, I think I would have really been into it. I like medical stories, both fiction and not. I would have liked to read about how his CJ progressed, and how his family and friends, as well as himself, dealt with the progression. But it went in the total opposite direction, and I don't think I was prepared for that.
So unfortunately, this was not one of my favorites. That doesn't mean that someone else won't like it. Like I said, there have been absolute rave reviews about it! If you like the whole angel, fantasy, etc. type of thing, then give it a try.
my gut reaction - me no likey. :(
my sleep-loss meter - one under-eye bag. :( The only reason it kept me reading was because I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on! But I wasn't so captivated that I read through to the last page to find out.
Oh well, you can't win 'em all.