Holy Cow, by David Duchovny

Animal farm for an adult reader. Well, sorta but not really. Yeah, the animals talk and all that, but there is more to it. A few pages in I have to admit I was thinking Duchovny had just read the Orwell classic and was having his own stab at mastery, but there are enough differences that even mentioning Orwell’s book is not all that fair.

Holy Cow gives you an insight into the day to day life of Elsie Boviary, a cow. She’s quite the cow too. Rather outspoken, and if you are willing to suspend your disbelief ever so slightly, you will enjoy her approach to life. Through a series of events, Elsie stumbles upon the horrific truth regarding her rather vital role in the creation of hamburgers.

Given this shock, her and a pig and turkey escape the farm, join forces and attempt to take on the world. It’s a great insight in how crazy things really are in society and how simple events get misinterpreted.

Elsie’s narration style often breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to the reader. This attempt to push along the plot and help explain the novel feels a little gluggy at times. It’s nothing new and it’s probably me being a conservative kiwi, but I found her a bit too abrasive. Having a few head of cattle myself, I struggled to put Elsie’s personality to any cow I’ve ever met.

Technically Elsie is a heifer, but if you can get over that issue and you enjoy a quirky read, Holy Cow will be right up your alley. Holy Heifer would have worked for a title, but most people are like Duchovny and have no idea what a heifer is.

If you are a farmer, forget about it. If you enjoy seeing the little guy (or large cow in this case) stick it to the man, you will be satisfied with this cow book.

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Drew Thompson Drew operates a successful hobby farm for pampered cattle in rural South Auckland. He once dabbled in education, where he discovered any book was a good book. As with most ex-teachers, he realised he was better off spending his time and patience on his own awesome children.

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