To be honest, I had no intention to read a book called Holy Cow by actor David Duchovny. I had taken my last book I finished, Willful Child, back to the library and instead of leaving it in the outside receptacle, I went in. And this is a huge mistake most of the time. I mean, I already had another book checked out, Dan Simmons The Fifth Heart, and I planned to start that. But then I saw Holy Cow, noticed it was by Duchovny, read the premise and I knew I had to read it.
Elsie Bovary is a cow, and a pretty happy one at that—her long, lazy days are spent eating, napping, and chatting with her best friend, Mallory. One night, Elsie and Mallory sneak out of their pasture; but while Mallory is interested in flirting with the neighboring bulls, Elsie finds herself drawn to the farmhouse. Through the window, she sees the farmer’s family gathered around a bright Box God—and what the Box God reveals about something called an “industrial meat farm” shakes Elsie’s understanding of her world to its core. There’s only one solution: escape to a better, safer world. And so a motley crew is formed: Elsie; Jerry—excuse me, Shalom—a cranky, Torah-reading pig who’s recently converted to Judaism; and Tom, a suave (in his own mind, at least) turkey who can’t fly, but who can work an iPhone with his beak. Toting stolen passports and slapdash human disguises, they head for the airport.
My one question, though, is what he hell the book is really about. Duchovny tries a sort of mash up a Pixar film along with George Orwell's Animal Farm but then he goes off on topics such as vegetarianism, peace in the Middle East, religion and the oddities of actors. It's often goofy, bizarre and weird. Elsie, and her bff Mallory, talk like modern teens, but then Elsie goes off on extended rants about animal cruelty. Then there is the equally strange left turn the book takes towards the end, as our characters become involved with the religious conflict in the Middle East -apparently it involves a pig and Jews and the Muslims hatred of the beast (I wonder if Washington D.C. is aware of this simple solution).
I understand that it's a parable, but the book is too busy to be really taken seriously. I never felt that Duchovny was trying to say anything beyond creating a novel (for adults? for kids?) with a lot of ideas sandwiched in. He seems to not want to commit to one idea, or say one thing that might actually be meaningful. It all reads, in the end, like screenplay for an animated film. One totally bizarre animated film.