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.