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Going Bovine
By Libba Bray

Discussed August 2011

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  • Cameron “Cam” Smith – victim of mad cow disease (Creutzfeldt-Jakob)
  • Paul Ignacio “Gonzo” Gonzales – neurotic, gamer, dwarf
  • Baldur – a lawn gnome
  • Dulcie – punk angel, psychopomp?
  • Dr. X, Wizard of Reckoning, Junior Webster, etc – archetypes on Cam’s mythic journey
  • Copenhagen Interpretation – a cosmic band
  • Jenna – Cameron’s sister
  • Cameron’s parents
  • Gonzo’s mother – referenced, never “seen”
  • Glory – a nurse
  • Chet King, Staci Johnson – key high school peers
  • Parker Day – television personality for the youth generation


  1. Did you like the book?  Why or why not?
  2. Bray utilizes pop culture in a somewhat sideways manner in Going Bovine… using cultural references we’ll understand in our world but calling them slightly different things in hers (Star Fighter/Star Wars….YA TV!/MTV….why might she have chosen not to use the “real” names?  Did her use of these pop cultural touchstones work for you?
  3. Going Bovine is chock full of Don Quixote references…..did you see parallels between what happens to Cam and the story of Don Quixote?
  4. What other myths/well known stories did you see as major influences on Going Bovine?
  5. Going Bovine is marketed as a YA novel (Young Adult) – yet contains a lot of material that adults might find questionable for teens (drug use, drinking and driving, sex, unsafe sex, etc) – discuss….
  6. The novel contains a *lot* of social commentary, what were some of the social themes you found most prevalent and how well did you find the author did with incorporating them?
  7. CESSNAB……discuss…
  8. Bray utilizes a number of quantum physics concepts and multi-dimensional theory elements in the book.  Did you find that she presented them in a way that was understandable?  Meaningful within the story?
  9. What did it all mean?  What was the message of the book?
  10. The spoiler question……did any of this “happen” in the world of the book or was it all in Cam’s head?
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