Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

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Combining the emotional depth of The Art of Racing in the Rain with the magical spirit of The Life of PiLily and the Octopus is an epic adventure of the heart.

When you sit down with Lily and the Octopus, you will be taken on an unforgettable ride.

The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don’t want to spoil it by giving away too many details. We can tell you that this is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.

For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog. Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.

Remember the last book you told someone they had to read? Lily and the Octopus is the next one. 

Warning: Possible spoilers ahead.

Several years ago when I finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain, I swore to myself that was the last book I would read about a dog dying. That book destroyed me, and my dog loving heart could not handle another dead dog book.

And then Lily and the Octopus appeared on Libby and I felt compelled to at least give it a shot. I hadn’t heard a lot about it but it definitely sounded like something I would enjoy, even if it did break my heart.

The first thing I noticed is that Lily and the Octopus didn’t read like a novel. It read like a memoir and I immediately connected with Ted and Lily. I could almost see Lily and a few times I looked down from my phone (where I read this), and was actually shocked to find no dog by my side.

I did start fading a bit on Ted and Lily’s adventure, that I felt could have been dealt with better but I think a lot of it was bad flashbacks of lectures of symbolism from my lit classes in college (and hence the reason my degree was psych and not literature).

I loved this book. Lily stole my heart for sure, and I could not feel more excited for Ted at the end.

Rating: four stars

“To focus, I think of how dogs are witnesses. How they are present for our most private moments, how they are there when we think of ourselves as alone. They witness our quarrels, our tears, our struggles, our fears, and all of our secret behaviors that we have to hide from our fellow humans. They witness without judgment.”

― Steven Rowley, Lily and the Octopus

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