Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer Reading: Lily and the Octopus

I started reading Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley, the next selection on my summer reading list, early in the afternoon and I finished it in the wee hours of the next morning (even canceling my plans for that evening to continue). I couldn't put it down! I laughed and cried and I think anyone who has ever had a dog in their life will have the same reaction. Ted is a lonely, middle-aged, gay man who is suffering from writer's block and a recent heartbreak. Lily is the beloved dachshund he has had for all of her 12 years. Lily is Ted's whole life and he often eschews going out in favor of game night, movie night, or pizza night with her. Ted has actual conversations with Lily and she answers. I have to admit that one of my favorite aspects of this novel is Lily's dialogue. It is exactly what a dog would say. One day an octopus appears on Lily's head, which is how Ted views her tumor. He always refers to the tumor as an octopus, as a coping mechanism because he cannot face what it really is, and tries every way he can think of to make the octopus leave on its own. Then things take a strange turn into the realm of magical realism as Ted takes a metaphorical journey to kill the octopus. I have to admit that this part of the story didn't work as much for me but it is a small criticism. Rowley describes Lily's final hours with so much emotion and anyone who has ever experienced the loss of a pet will probably be shattered. As sad as this novel is it does end on a hopeful note. When Ted does finally acknowledge the tumor, he faces his own mortality and reevaluates his life. It is such a poignant story about the love and grief experienced as a pet owner and I highly recommend it.

Have you read Lily and the Octopus?  What did you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...