a cow, a pig, and a turkey board an international flight – a review of David Duchovny’s Holy Cow

If that sounds like the opening of a joke, that’s because it is! David Duchovny’s first novel, Holy Cow, is a fun, silly romp. I laughed aloud more than once, but not continuously.

In short, a farm cow looks into the family room of the farmer’s home and sees a TV program showing her bloody fate. But she also sees that there’s a land where cows are revered: India. She seeks to get there, along with a pig who wants to go to Israel and a turkey who wants to get to Turkey. As you can imagine, mayhem ensues.

Who is this book aimed at? No idea. If it were a movie, it would be a PG-13 for language, and despite the anthropomorphized animals, most of the humor is over the heads of smaller children. But I enjoyed it.

A few tidbits:

On global warming: “Stop blaming me and my gas for global warming. I can’t drive a car.”

On selfies: “Selfies they call ’em, and that makes sense ’cause even though they’re sending these pictures to others, it still smells like selfish to me. Is that why they call it an ‘I phone’?”

On TV: “I realized that the Box God is not just one god, but many gods in one box. … It seemed that everyone in the family wanted to worship different gods. The youngest girl wanted to worship the Nickelodeon God, the dad wanted to worship the ESPN God…while the mom was happy with this Discovery God. Mom won out. Everybody else…left the room grumbling, and I realized that all humans must have a Box God in their own rooms. … What a strange god that instead of bringing people together, divides them.”

On plane behavior: “None of the flight attendants gave us any trouble, ’cause everyone acts like an animal on a plane.”

It was light and entertaining and occasionally a little bit thoughtful.

POSITIVE
Kirkus – “a charming fable about dignity and tolerance, complete with anthropomorphized animals and replete with puns, double-entendres, and sophisticated humor” https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/david-duchovny/holy-cow-duchovny/

Denver Post – “a seriously entertaining fable that doesn’t take itself too seriously.” http://www.denverpost.com/2015/02/12/book-review-holy-cow-by-david-duchovny/

The Guardian – “although Elsie’s “memoir” feels slight, and reads too often like a funny first draft of something more substantial, it does what all good animal novels do – it makes us think about our relationship with the other species we share the planet with.” https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/04/holy-cow-david-duchovny-review

MIXED
HuffPost – “the book seems to have no real idea who its audience is or what it’s actually about…The sheer absurdity of this roller coaster of a book makes for some knee-slapping moments, however.” http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6598702.html

NEGATIVE
“Holy Cow is one of the most half-baked, phoned-in books I’ve ever read, and it’s hard to look at it as anything but a vanity project.” http://www.npr.org/2015/02/07/383875612/dont-have-a-cow-man
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