Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ⓥ Book Review: Holy Cow

I recently read Holy Cow, by David Duchovny. If you haven't heard about this book, it's sort of a modern day fable with an animal rights message. It follows the journey of a cow, Elsie, and her friends Jerry (aka Shalom) the pig, and Tom the turkey. They each become aware of the ultimate fate of animals on farms, and decide to run away together, each with a different destination.

While the concept sounds a bit absurd, I felt that this book did a rather excellent job of covering animal rights issues in a way that is somehow still fun and light-hearted. The book is written from Elsie's perspective, and is presented as something between an autobiography and a diary. She fills her story with pop culture references and stereotypical teenage lingo, which easily could have been highly annoying but somehow manages to be quite endearing.

There were a few flaws in the story, in my opinion. For one thing, it started out on a small family farm, as opposed to a factory farm, which automatically avoided the most serious abuses that farmed animals face. I can understand why he did this, it would have been hard to maintain the cheerful nature of the story if it had been set in a factory farm, but I felt that it may have given the average reader an unrealistically tame image of a farmed animal's life. Also, we were led to believe that Elsie was producing milk despite the fact that she had never given birth, which is physically impossible. Though, to be fair, this inconsistency was addressed in the notes at the end of the book.  

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Holy Cow. I thought it had a nice balance of humor and thought-provoking insight into animal agriculture. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in animal rights, or is just looking for an interesting, if highly unusual, read.

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