Holy Cow will be released on 3rd February 2015. My thanks to Headline Publishing Group for the complimentary copy.
Elsie Bovary is a cow. She leads a pleasant life in the fields and she can't complain, until one day her world is rocked by "the Box God" watched by the humans. It suddenly reveals to her the cycle of farming and food production. Her mother did not leave her - she was killed for food.
With a similarity to Aardman Animation's "Chicken Run" - Elsie must escape the farm or die, and in this endeavour she is joined by a pig and a turkey, who are also seeking pastures new.
You have to suspend all disbelief to enjoy Holy Cow and just join in with a fantastical world where a cow, a turkey and a pig can adventure off together without attracting attention. And it is funny, especially when they board the plane and Jerry the Pig's ill conceived notion of conversion to Judaism. To its detriment, it is often decidedly preachy.
On some occasions Holy Cow proves unsubtle and
soapbox-esque. There is almost an acknowledgement of this by the author,
as when his forthright opinions become very clear, a parentheses will
appear saying, "the editor told me to leave this out."
The Arab/Israeli conflict is over-simplified for comic effect but somehow feels uncomfortable not amusing. There is a clear agenda at work here and it often loses the ability to show not tell.
Where Holy Cow would fare best I think in terms of audience impact is within the 12-15 age bracket as a think piece and debate starter about ethics, animal rights and vegetarianism. Also, it provides scope for thought and discussion about why certain cultures and religions discern between animals they won't eat because they are sacred, or because they are unclean. Why not one for all and all for one?
It will certainly sell widely, both to Duchovny fans and like-minded souls. Short chapters, with a quirky talent for the surreal and a lighthearted tone, make this a vivacious, pleasant, read, but one not without its flaws. 7/10
2015 Challenge : A funny book