Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Books I've Read: Lily and the Octopus

I'm not a dog-lover, so let's get this out of the way at the start.  I'm a cat person, although we don't have a cat at the moment.  But I really enjoyed this book for its blending of reality and magical realism.

Ted's relationship with Lily is vividly evoked.  He talks to her and believes she talks back to him.  They had regular routines, games nights, outings and special meals they share.  Lily is Ted's world.

So when Lily gets sick, Ted's life starts to spiral out of control.  He's unable and unwilling to face Lily's illness, something that manifests in Ted's mind as a living octopus taking over Lily's head.  His life is suddenly consumed by fighting this dangerous sea creature, to the point everything else is forgotten and abandoned.

As the battle gets more difficult, the lines between reality and fantasy become increasingly blurred and the adventures Ted, Lily and the octopus undertake become more and more surreal.

Anyone who has watched someone - or something - they love suffer will empathize with Ted.  He's not always the most likable character, but his devotion to Lily and his willingness to do absolutely anything for her is touching.

While things got a little too far into the magical and away from the realism for a few chapters toward the middle of the book, I really enjoyed this one for its unconventional way of exploring emotions we have all, or will, journey through at some time in our lives.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb (what there is of it…):

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.


  1. Ah, I AM a dog person. So is my husband. Our dog of 15 years passed away three years ago, and we still miss him so much. We travel, so we aren't going to get a new dog until our travel days are over, but there really is something about a dog's personality that makes you feel understood. We both felt "Cezar" understood a lot. We also like cats, but we've never had that particular rapport with our cat of 19 years, even though we loved him a lot.

  2. I'm the rare dog AND cat person. I absolutely love both.

  3. I'm usually iffy towards magical realism, but it's interesting to read books with neurodivergent protagonists.