Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

I’m just going to say it, I hated this book. I can’t even say it was because the book was quirky, or because it is a dog book. Somehow for me, this book really missed the mark. But then again, I didn’t pick this book, it was part of one of my book club.

Lily and the Octopus is the story of a man, Ted, a pretty self-absorbed man, and well, his dog, Lily, his sick dachshund. The focus is really on the tumor on the side of Lily’s head and how it affects Ted. This is of course to the point where he is calling the tumor and seeing the tumor as an octopus.

My biggest pet-peeve with this book was the idea of this animated tumor-octopus with its eye and voice, literally fighting, with Ted throughout the book. There was a point in the book where I seriously thought maybe Ted too had an octopus and might be dying. It seriously didn’t make sense.

About a quarter of the way to the end, the book took this weird fantastical turn and I just couldn’t keep up with it. I had to re-read the chapters because it came out of no-where and it really confused me. When the reader is lost and has to re-read what you wrote about three times to understand what’s going on, that’s definitely not a good sign.

What really threw me was Ted’s intimate dating life being thrown into this book so much. Even to the point that it was weighted into Lily’s surgery. I’m not really one for bashing romance in a book, I love romance books and plots, I’m a sucker for romance, but the amount of emotional significant his intimate dating life took on his decisions and Lily’s health was rather shocking to me.

While sitting at my book club and hearing the amount of people who literally wept while reading this book, I had to ask myself if I’m a sociopath. I mean, everyone said they cried at the end of the book. Not me, I was just as numb about this book as that feeling represented the book. Like Rowley wrote in the book:

“Today me will live in the moment, unless it’s unpleasant, in which case me will eat a cookie.”

I eventually found reading this novel unpleasant and decided to go eat not one cookie, but a bag full. This book seriously made me feel numb and rather lonely, but at least I had cookies!


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