Monday, July 11, 2016

Book Review: Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley


From the publisher: Combining the emotional depth of The Art of Racing in the Rain with the magical spirit of The Life of Pi, Lily 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.


Every book I read that focuses on the human/animal bond is special because I understand so profoundly the depth of that bond. That being said, this is one of the hardest reviews I've ever had to write; how do you do a book justice that has so completely touched your soul? In a word it is exquisite. I've spent the last few nights reading until the wee hours, savoring each and every word dreading the moment it would end. Every moment I wasn't reading it I was aching to get back to it, unable to stop thinking about it. I will never forget these characters or this story...it has a forever home on my keeper shelf and in my heart.

Ted Flask is a lonely writer whose deepest relationship is with his 12 year old dachshund. Life as they know it comes to a screeching halt one Thursday night when Ted discovers what he calls an octopus (a tumor) on Lily's head. From that moment on Ted's singular purpose is defeating the octopus, especially when it takes on a personality of it's own and begins taunting it's victims. Ted refuses to surrender his best friend without one hell of a fight...but we all know there's no fighting the inevitable.



Lily has completely stolen my heart. Her pure innocence and boundless joy is exactly why I love animals the way I do. From the first page until the last I had tears in my eyes whenever she spoke (yes, Ted and Lily have conversations). I loved her as though she were my own and my heart broke right along with Ted's as her illness progressed. When he finally had no choice but to let her go, I understood everything he was feeling in the vet's office, dreading the opening of the door, content to stay in that room, just him and Lily, forever.

Call it fate, perhaps even serendipity, that I read the final 50 pages of this masterpiece at the exact moments that one year prior I had been saying good-bye to Truffles. The circumstances were different: Truffles was gone suddenly and very unexpectedly, whereas Lily's illness was drawn out over a number a months, but anyone who has ever experienced the loss of a beloved pet experiences similar emotions. The anger, the grief, the denial, the utter devastation...all of which will be evoked while reading this unforgettable novel. Yes, it's heart-wrenching, but it's also filled with magic, all thanks to the wisdom and unconditional love of one brave little dachshund.



L:ily and the Octopus is sure to be a classic for anyone who loves a beautifully written story about the relationships that make up our lives, destined to be a cherished re-read because there is so much wisdom about love and life contained in it's pages you will want to absorb them again and again. I can't help thinking what a beautiful movie this would be.

Lily now has her own special place in my heart right alongside my own beloved pets...she feels that real to me.

Hurry! For a limited time only the Kindle version of Lily and the Octopus is only $1.99!!!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

11 comments:

  1. Wow! Sounds like a heart-rending, but good book. thanks for the review!

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  2. This is one of the best reviews I have ever read, Melissa. This book sounds simply beyond words. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

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  3. This sounds like a must read. Thank you for this beautiful review.

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  4. That sounds like a beautiful book. Thanks for sharing it!

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  5. I haven't read Racing, but have heard good things. But one of my all time favorites is The Life of Pi, so I will definitely have to look into this one!

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  6. Great review!
    Have a super week...

    Noodle and crew

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  7. I just ordered the book sent to my Kindle. And I will probably never read it. Because I have experienced the long, slow losses like Lily's, and the sudden, awful ones like Truffles ( with both some beloved animals and some beloved humans too). And I don't know if I can relive it, even in a book about someone else's experience. But thank you for this wonderful review.

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  8. I had a student who felt the death of his dachshund so deeply, his social interactions became almost non-existent. Wonderful review and very touching. Books written from the heart are always best. ~ Julie Mackenzie and kitties

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  9. I'm tearing up and I haven't even ordered the book yet--but I will!! Thank you, Mudpie and Mommy for a great review of this book!

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