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Lily and the Octopus Book Cover Lily and the Octopus
Steven Rowley
July 14, 2016

Combining the emotional depth of The Art of Racing in the Rainwith 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.

A beautifully emotive book that every pet owner should read.

free copyEvery now and again a book will come along that will completely turn your little world on it’s head. It will consume you, drain you and, for some reason, leave an unchanging mark on you. I remember every book that has made me feel this way. When I was 14, it was the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, at 17 it was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by  Jonathan Safran Foer, age 19 it was Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks and more recently Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

And now, age 24, I have been utterly destroyed by a book about an elderly Dachshund called Lily.

I didn’t see it coming. It was sold to me as a book about a man, Ted, and his undying love for his dog Lily so I did anticipate a warm fuzzy feeling that often comes with books about pets, but this story was more emotional torment than warm and fuzzy. You see, this book is about Ted coming to terms with the fact that Lily is unwell, that soon Lily won’t be around and he will lose the one thing he loves the most.

I won’t ruin the plot for you or the surprising use of the octopus, because it really is beautiful and should be experienced first hand and not through a review, but I’m fairly sure you may have guessed how this story ends.

The story is loosely biographical, Rowley explains at the end of the book that he based this story around saying goodbye to his own Dachshund Lily. Even without reading the note from the author at the end, it is glaringly obvious that the story is based on the authors own experiences. The grief just bounces off the page, and the way Rowley writes makes this feel like a final goodbye rather than a story. Its something that, as a pet owner myself, I had a hard time with. It brought back the memories of saying goodbye to pets and the repressed fear of loosing my two Cats and my Guinea Pigs.

The book is filled with lovely snippets of dialogue between Lily and Ted (I especially love the way Rowley captures the excited way Dogs would talk if they could), and it’s easy to see that Rowley loved Lily deeply. Despite the melancholy undertones, the book is filled with humorous moments, impeccably placed Cate Blanchett references and just the right amount of drama.

I laughed, I cried (like a baby) and I did get that warm fuzzy feeling right at the end when Ted starts to find his happiness after Lily. Long after I finished the book, it played on my mind and I found myself hugging my on pets just that little bit longer and harder

“So many adventures we had. And I loved every one.”

Steven. Thank you for sharing your adventure with Lily, I loved very bit, and I know she did too.