Book Review — Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
I begin the story of Lily.
BEGIN! THE! STORY! OF! ME!
…and I begin with the very last words of Lily and the Octopus.
Ted is a single, gay, middle aged man who loves his dog, Lily. Lily is a dachshund and 12 years old. And this is their story. One night Ted sees an octopus on Lily’s head. Of course, the octopus is a euphemism for something else.
Every page of Lily and the Octopus shows us the relationship between Ted and Lily. The closeness, the love and the life that they have shared over the past 12 years… anyone who has ever had a pet will definitely understand. The novel is written in a manner that shows us their everyday routine and displays how interdependent they are.
Difficult decisions have to be made and to make them Ted needs to make some changes. As do we all at some point in life. But such decisions are never easy. And for someone who is going through the emotional roller coaster of a breakup and having to deal with ‘the octopus’, Ted’s pain is palpable.
Steven Rowley uses his words brilliantly to showcase how Ted deals with the ‘Octopus’ — from the time he discovers it to the end. In fact, the author conveys the emotions in this book rather vividly. Like when Lily discovers the joy of ice-cream…
We sat at a picnic table on some grass and I scooped Lily up into my lap.
WHAT! IS! THIS! CLOUD! THAT! YOU’RE! LICKING! I! LOVE! TO! LICK! THINGS! WOULD! I! LIKE! TO! LICK! THAT!
Even on my best days, I always wished life excited me as much as it excited her. So I lowered the cone to let her have a lick. The response was immediate.
THIS! IS! AMAZING! WE! MUST! HAVE! THIS! TO! LICK! EVERY! SINGLE! DAY!
If you are looking for a light read then Lily and the Octopus is not the book for you. It takes you along with it and makes you shed tears. Ted cries and you cry as well, for Lily and for Ted as well. But, yes, I was glad I read Lily and the Octopus.
It tells us the tale of someone who has to deal with the concept of loss. Of how Ted goes from being hopeful and then plans to kill the octopus. Of how he then accepts the declining changes that Lily goes through and how he finally deals with her tumour. The tale of how Ted goes from being shattered and heartbroken to actually getting to live life after Lily.
But the sun is so warm and the breeze is so cool and the company is so perfect and the whole afternoon so intoxicating it’s hard not to hear Lily’s voice dancing in the gentle wind.
ONE! MONTH! IS! LONG! ENOUGH! TO! BE! SAD!
Lily and the Octopus is not just a book for people who have/had pets. I would recommend it to anyone who has loved and has been loved.
Originally published at frostatmidnite.wordpress.com on December 7, 2016.