Maybe it’s because I own a dachshund myself, but I could not wait to read Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley. So when I was given the chance to read it as an e-galley the title shot to the top of the TBR pile.
Let me set the scene for you. I am the person who loves animals in a film. Kill a dog in a film and I lose it, regardless of it happens on or off screen. Don’t get me started on that one scene in City of Thieves!
It’s hard to summarize Lily and the Octopus without giving it away. The back copy from Simon and Schuster is very vague about the plot of the story but I think it best describes the book as a whole. The jacket copy says:
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.
They got it right. The marketing of this book is spot on. When I sat down to read it I was immediately engrossed in the relationship between Ted and Lily. They have this beautiful bond. They talk about boys, play board games, order pizza, and share ice cream.
When I picked up the book, I read a quarter of it in a sitting. Yes, you read that right. A quarter in one sitting. Rowley gets the relationship between a person and their dog right.
In the days that followed, I couldn’t put it down and found that I was done with the book by Saturday evening.
When I started reading this I couldn’t help but think of Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan. It’s wrong to compare the two because Marley and Me is a memoir and Lily and the Octopus is a work of fiction with magical realism tied in.
Still both stories took me on an emotional rollercoaster. The same rollercoaster anyone who owns a dog goes on from the moment they adopt their furry little companion.
Lily is based partly on the real events surrounding the death of Rowley’s dachshund. He talks about Lily in this video.
There is really nothing I can say without giving away the heart of this book. I loved Ted and Lily. I can see a lot of my pug/dachshund Sissy in Lily but I think the story appeals to everyone.
Ted and Lily’s relationship is not just about human and dog. It can also be about best friends or a loved one. The deep connection they share is genuine. Ted’s just happens to be with a dog.
Make no mistake you will need a box of Kleenex reading this story, but the relationship depicted is so beautiful and so worth it that you should read it anyway. It’s a beautiful plot and a poignant tale.
Even though I had an ARC of this book, I think I am going to order my own copy because this is so moving.
Final Rating: 5 Stars