Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Lily and the Octopus

Author: Steven Rowley
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Type: e-book
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
First Published: June 7, 2016
First Line: "It's Thursday the first time I see it."

Book Description from GoodReads: 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.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

My Review: This book is about Lily and Ted who are the best of friends for over 12 years. It just so happens that Lily is a dog.  This book didn't have a detailed blurb on the cover. It only hinted that it's about a man and his dog but you get the feeling that it'll bring out some emotion in you.  You just know it.

I understand on a personal level the relationship between a dog and his/her human.  I've always had a dog in my life, a couple living over 16 years, so this book interested me in that respect.  Dogs become part of your family.  They're the family members who forgive you in an instant, show utter devotion and are there for you through thick and thin.  

This book is about the bond between Ted and Lily. Lily is a sweet Dachshund and her best friend is Ted, an emotionally frail 42 year old man who is trying to overcome the end of his long-term relationship.  Ted is very lonely and sad and it's Lily who is pretty much the only constant joy that he has in his life. 

And then the octopus came. 

Lily is diagnosed with a brain tumor (which they refer to as 'the octopus') and their world is thrown into a tailspin.  The scenes with Lily were sweet and Rowley captures the innocent devotion and 'live in the moment' attitude of dogs.  Unfortunately the octopus bits were my least favourite part of the book.  I liked Ted and could empathize with how he had to come to terms about losing his best friend but after awhile his total dependency on wee, sick Lily got old. 

Many people are over-the-moon gushing about this book.  I'm not one of those people.  While this book did have it's great scenes (mainly at the end) there was a large part of the book that was just plain bizarre.  I'm referring to a large scene about three-quarters of the way in when Ted and Lily go on a fantasy-based adventure to hunt the octopus.  It was odd (not the good quirky kind of odd) and I didn't like it.

There were parts that were touching I admit that it got the tears flowing and a rather large lump in my throat as it brought me back to losing our dog, Brandy.  It's a very difficult and emotional time and Rowley captures those feelings with sensitivity and complete accuracy.
While this wasn't a favourite of mine, this was an emotional book with a strong 'nod to the odd' that should appeal to those who have deep attachments to furry folk.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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