Friday, October 2, 2009

(G)nomenclature

I've highlighted this striking little South Pas resident before, but I felt particularly compelled to bring him back to the blog. You see, he bears a striking resemblance to a character in a new book that everyone it talking about. I heard two girls raving about it at the train station. I received several email messages in the last few days from people wanting to know if it was true that I was friends with the author.

Libba Bray's newest novel Going Bovine came out last week and it's so gloriously weird, so jaw-droppingly brilliant I just have to make sure every one of you goes out and reads it. And not just because Libba and I are old pals. (You should have seen us rocking out to Billy Idol back in college. I was sporting the Madonna-in-her-Borderline-phase look. Lib leaned more toward Cindy Lauper.)

I'm happy to name drop when it comes to raving about this novel. Not that Libba needs my help to get people to buy her books. Most readers know her as the author of the New York Times bestselling Gemma Doyle series -- a supernatural grrrl-power trilogy set in Victorian England that serves up a much juicier, cooler, more psychedelic mythology than anything found in Harry Potter. But Going Bovine? I have no idea how to describe it. Back in my copy writing days, I would have been hard pressed to come up with a tag line for the book jacket. "A boy with mad cow disease loses his mind and finds himself..." No way. That doesn't even begin to tackle the lush, heartbreaking, hilarious, mind-bending splendor of this story. As Libba described in her riotously insane book trailer it's the "feel good mad cow disease string theory book of September 2009."

It's a road trip as well as a head trip about life, death, madness, reality, love, meaning, dreams, hope, despair, humor, microwave popcorn, parallel universes, happiness cults, jazz, quantum physics, connection and the ephemeral nature of existence led by a 16 year old boy, a hypochondriac dwarf, a punk rock fairy and, yes, a talking garden gnome. Don't let the Young Adult classification throw you. This is a new classic along the lines of Catcher in the Rye and Don Quixote. (Only much more fun.) If you love John Irving, Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Robbins and Charles Dickens -- read this book. You'll never look at a garden gnome the same way again.

10 comments:

Yakpate said...

Go Libba! I have to order not one but four copies of her latest genius YA novel, because my two college-age nieces AND a college-age nephew have been devoted fans since grade school, and have read everything she's published!

And your gnome... it should speak on the jacket of a special edition.

Dixie Jane said...

Why is that gnome sitting on the gas meter?

Laurie said...

Mister gnome hangs out on that gas meter. You can see a wide shot I posted last year right here.

altadenahiker said...

I like the noir gnome.

Well, you know, I'm always up for a good book. It really doesn't make any difference to me if it's classified as juvenile fiction or adult or whatever. Although it is special to read a children's book as a child, then develop a whole new appreciation for it as an adult.

dbdubya said...

If you look carefully, you'll see the gnome is holding binoculars. He is constantly on the lookout for classic old cars and when he sees one, he reports its location to Laurie. How else do you think she is able to find all the South Pasadena Classics?

Shanna said...

Hooray for Libba!!!

w.v.:verse

Yakpate said...

By the way, LA... I LOVE this photo! The contrast... Judy's diagonal.... the gorgeous white space... and the spooky theme you seem to have started. I can't wait to see what's next.

Anton said...

Binoculars? I thought those were bottles of Coke; and when I say Coke I mean...

TheChieftess said...

Gnome noir...nicely done!!!

Laurie said...

Thanks, gang!

And for more creative inspiration, be sure to check out tomorrow's post about South Pas ArtsFest. Til then!