Holy Cow

By: Judy Levin

Holy Cow/By: David Duchovny

Duchovny, well-known as a television, stage, and screen actor, screenwriter and director, adds fiction writer to his list of credits with this inspired debut novel.  He acknowledges and ultimately thanks both Disney and Pixar for turning down his proposed animated film and “forcing me to write it out like a big boy”.

Holy Cow is a book written for adults that looks and reads like a book for kids and even has illustrations!  Going beyond the thinking, talking, behaving like humans style of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the common farm animals of this story walk right off the farm, acquire passports, go to the airport, board and even fly a plane and travel to foreign lands.  Why, you might ask, do they venture from their safe, quiet, protected and cared for environment?

Meet Elsie Bovary (yes, she knows her name rings bells) who lives a comfortable life on the farm eating, napping and chatting with her sister cows.   Then one day she ventures close to the farmer’s house where she watches through the window and sees the family entranced by the “Box God”, aka television, watching a program about the meatpacking industry.   What she sees shakes her to the bone, giving her the sudden knowledge of where her mother disappeared to and where she is destined to disappear to one day as well. 

Elsie concocts a plan to escape to the one place on earth where she knows she will be safe – where cows are honored and revered – India, of course!  And as these animal adventure stories usually go, our main character picks up a few other comrades along the way.  Escaping with her are Jerry the pig, recently converted to Shalom, whose dream destination is Israel, where although he may be shunned, he will definitely be safe from being slaughtered, and Tom (what did you expect his name to be?) the turkey who sees his moniker country, Turkey, as a safe haven.

The laughs ensue as Duchovny draws on every association, stereotype, old joke and dated reference to songs, advertisements, cultures and religions.  Joe Camel even makes a comeback in this delightful allegory about identity, acceptance, and making peace with oneself and the world. 

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