Udderly Bonkers…

Holy Cow


Most people think cows can’t think.

What happens when you mix a socially aware cow, a religiously confused pig with a techno-savvy turkey? No, this isn’t the start of some very clever joke but rather an astute description of the charming but udderly bonkers Holy Cow, David Duchovny’s modern dairy tale.

Elsie Bovary is a cow who is very happy with her lot in life, or rather she thinks she is, until the night of The Event. Escaping from her pen in the dead of night she accidentally uncovers the gory secret behind the missing cows and the farming industry. Rather than accepting her fate, Elsie sets out to reach a land where cows are glorified not gobbled and a global adventure ensues.

This is a silly tale, there’s no doubt about it, but Holy Cow doesn’t pretend to be anything other than ridiculous – and boy does it milk it for all its worth! Sometimes you need to suspend your beliefs and just accept that a cow can, for some reason, make it through airport security to board an international flight – if you can’t, this book is definitely not the one for you!

Holy Cow is fast paced and short in length so turned out to be a very quick read for me (two days) but this was perfect for the premise of the title – any longer and I think the enjoyment would have waned considerably. The narrative voice of Elsie is well constructed and a-moo-sing and whilst there is a clear eco-message backlighting the comedy, it is approached with very soft (no kid here…) gloves and sidesteps the preachiness of a “Worthy” title.

What I did find confusing was who this book is pitched to – perhaps a deliberate moo’ove but worth noting nonetheless. Elsie repeatedly mentions her editor and her child audience but the story doesn’t appear to fit that brief. The illustrations are incredibly fun and quirky with a clear John Lennon/Spike Milligan influence that adds to the feeling that Holy Cow is both too old for children but possibly too young for adults.

Moosoever this book is for, there’s no denying the mad capped sensibilities that keep you reading the life and lies of Elise Bovary, our cream of the crop heroine. You will smile, laugh and question every possibility within the pages of this quirky modern dairy tale but if you can’t suspend belief in the fictional world of the impossibly possible, when can you?!

3 star

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