‘Cows Can’t Jump’ is Philip Bowne’s debut novel and is the winner of the
18-year-old Billy is desperate to leave home. He’s working the ultimate dead-end job as a grave-digger. His Grandad’s engaged to a woman half his age, his Dad’s become obsessed with boxing, and his Mum’s certainly having an affair. Everything is changing, and Billy hates it. Meeting the older, mysterious Eva, though, changes everything. She’s passionate about Russian literature, Gary Numan, windfarms and chai tea, and Billy gambles everything for a chance to be with her. His scramble across Europe involves hitch-hiking with truckers, walking with refugees, and an encounter with suicidal cows. But the further he goes, the harder it is to be sure what he’s chasing – and what he’s running from.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, a witty, unpredictable and occasionally poignant story of first love and finding your place in life.
After leaving school, Billy is unsure of what to do with his future. He tries different paths from being a gravedigger to being a activity leader at a school where he meets his first love Eva who’s from Switzerland and from that point on Eva becomes his first priority. When Eva returns home, Billy is heartbroken and throws all his efforts and money into visiting her. Meanwhile his 80 year old Grandad called GG is marrying 38 year old Benny and his parents are convinced, she is only marrying him for his money. This results in his father investing all his time and money into learning to box and his mother setting up a secret sharers group, where women come to anonymously share their secrets.
With a series of get rich quick schemes, Billy leaves behind his arguing parents and lovestruck grandfather to follow his heart and see Eva, even though she has broken up with him. Billy then finds himself travelling solo across Europe on a very tight budget to see his first love and ends up making new friends and get caught up in dramatic and hilarious scenarios along the way.
‘Cows Can’t Jump’ is well worthy of its prize. It’s funny, fast paced with relatable characters that make this book an enjoyable read. Billy, is a sympathetic boy that I immediately found myself warming to, the underdog of the story that people like to bully and make fun off. Particularly his father, who’s trying to warm to the idea of his own father marrying someone over 40 years younger and takes his upset out on the punching bag and his sharp tongue out on Billy. As Billy finds himself on this literal journey across Europe, he discovers somethings about himself along the way, which makes for tender reading.
This story is a coming of age drama and a journey of self discovery. An insightful and empathic story that is perceptive with fascinating characters, creative dialogue that made for enjoyable reading. ‘Cows Can’t Jump’ is a clever and fun story about finding the right path in life.
You can buy ‘Cows Can’t Jump’ from Amazon.