Book Review: Lily and the Octopus

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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.

This was a gentle story about a man losing his beloved dog and sharing the wonderful moments he had with her. For Ted, having Lily by his side meant this was the first time he had ever felt love in such a strong and intense way.

Unfortunately, Lily developed a tumour at the age of 12, and it was growing on top of her head. Ted immediately began referring to this tumour as an octopus. He would become very upset when people didn’t refer to it, or recognize it as an octopus as well. Ted even held conversations with the octopus, and he also gave Lily a human voice, with human interactions such as playing board games and watching TV with him.

While Lily and the Octopus was a very nice story, and the parts in the end where he is grieving the loss of his beloved and adored Lily, held many emotional and touching moments,  I could not overcome my antipathy for Ted’s juvenile telling of it.  I felt his voice in telling this story was almost child-like for a grown man in his 40s, and the stories he told about Lily too twee. The ending where he comes to terms with the loss of lovely Lily, and begins to move forward in his life are truly lovely parts of the story, but overall, the immaturity in the storytelling was something I wasn’t able to move beyond to fully embrace it. (I know I am in the great minority here. So many have read this and adored it, and required many tissues as well.)

Bookidote is participating in this blog tour as well, and Lashaan expresses similar thoughts to mine — but they are perhaps better written! :-) You can find his review here.

 Lily and the Octopus is another book in the Simon & Schuster Canada’s Summer Fiction Blog Tour and please do not forget to head over to to enter for a chance to win a set of books + one year of free coffee from aroma expresso bar!

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