Read Lily and the Octopus by StevenRowley Online


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.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 thCombining 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.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....

Title : Lily and the Octopus
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781501126222
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 307 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Lily and the Octopus Reviews

  • karen
    2018-10-30 23:53

    congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best fiction AND debut author categories 2016!i added this book to my to-read list back when i heard about it, but it was one of those wobbly to-read intentions - the plan was to wait for it to be released and check out the reviews on here before committing one way or another. in general, books whose blurbs gush about how "moving" the story is and gleefully relate how many tissues you will need to get through it are not a selling point for me. books that are "heartbreaking" never break my heart because it's hard for me to sustain emotional connections with the books i read. i can identify where the sad beats are, but they unfortunately don't work on me, and since so many of these supposedly emotionally draining books are about dogs, i was concerned that this would be just one more schmaltzy, emotionally manipulative addition to the dog p.o.v. movement* where everyone has a good cry but me. but this book is not *just* a tearjerker, and it mostly stays on the good side of cutesy. it's about a man named ted and a dog named lily and the octopus that threatens the boundless ocean of their love for each other. stupid octopus. it's pretty much a page-four reveal, but i'm not going to go into more detail about that. but i will say that lily is an absolute delight, and ted's - well, not a delight, but he's very sympathetic, and his love for lily is so raw and fierce that you're just as likely to choke up at the happy-sweet parts as the sad ones. like i said, i can identify where humans will experience emotions even if i don't feel them myself. and yet - wonder of all wonders - this book did indeed give me a tear. on the subway, on my way home to my own little beastie-cat, i sprung a leak and i felt one warm droplet escape my eyeball, and it made me so happy! which is totally backwards, i know, but it's a relief to know it's not that i'm broken; but that authors just aren't trying hard enough to reach me. There you are, said my eyeball. it's a sweet book, but not a flimsy one. it's not perfect, but it's much less self-indulgently twee than i'd feared, and it's as funny as it is sad, which is a nice balance for a book about grieving to strike. i say go for it, even if the thought of entertainment marketed as tearjerkers makes you feel bored inside. because you never know - it might be the day your own plumbing breaks down! at any rate, there's some cuteness to be had:WHAT! IS! THIS! COZY! BOX! THIS! WOULD! MAKE! A! GREAT! BED! FOR! ME! I! LOVE! ITS! SIDES! AND! THIS! ELASTIC! STRAP!"That is a suitcase. I have to put my things in it so I can travel.""Great. I'm already in it, so you're ready to go!""Sadly, I can't have you in it. It's for my clothes and shoes and shaving kit.""Why can't I be in it? I am one of your things!"I sat down beside the suitcase and scratched the back of her head, between her ears. "You are, in fact, my most treasured thing." She raised her nose in the air and squinted her eyes. "But you're going to stay nearby and have an adventure of your own."Lily looked at me with her soulful, almond-shaped eyes. "We're going on different adventures?"oh my god awwwwwwwmaggie is my most treasured thing.*when everyone knows that the ONLY good book that has a dog p.o.v. is Heroic Measures. which is also a dachshund, come to think of it.**************************************UPDATE*A! SINGLE! TEAR!and twenty pages to go! thank you for making me cry, book! ************************************you want me to cry, book?? go on, let's see whatchoo got... do your worst.

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    2018-10-18 00:40

    I DID NOT WANT TO CRY TODAY! DAMN IT! *Some spoilers*I put off reading this book for some time. I would look over at the book in my stacks and say..not today. Because. I knew I was going to cry. And I cried and cried some more. (I added some pics of me and my dog)This book is about Lily and Ted, they are best friends. She is his dog and I'm getting ready to cry again!!!! The love that Ted had for Lily is so very beautiful. I could feel all of the pain Ted had in the book. I could enjoy the happy, silly times. I had those same times with my son, Dakota. He was my Australian Shepherd and he was my everything. People couldn't understand why I really didn't want to go anywhere unless Dakota was with me. Not a lot of people can understand that kind of love. I loved how Ted would talk about thinking of Lily when he was away from her. I get it. They are our fur babies and they should never have to get any kind of medical problems in my opinion. They should just die peacefully in their sleep when it's time! I loved reading about Ted and Lily having game night, talking about men and other funny stuff. It was so cute. Then Lily picks up a friend that Ted names the octopus. The octopus that no dog or person should have and it's so sad all of the things they go through. I hated it. I hated it for them. I didn't have to go through all of that with my Dakota. I guess God didn't think I would be able to handle it. My Dakota collapsed one night in the middle of the night/morning. We rushed him to the ER Vet and he had damn cancer. After everything I did every year to try to make sure the damn cancer didn't sneak up and get him, it did anyway. That same year I was going to start doing x rays every year because I knew the extensive blood work couldn't pick all of that up. And it didn't and I was too late. Dakota had it in his spleen and lungs. It was too late because it had gotten into his lungs. I told them you are not euthanizing him. His vet of 11 years will do it and call him now and let me talk to him. We set it up for the next morning and I was to just watch over Dakota to make sure he wasn't in any pain through the one night. One damn night, that's all I got. I would have done so much more to make him happy if I would have known. But some say it's worse if you know and watch them go downhill. I didn't get to go through all of the horrible stuff Ted went through with Lily. I can't even imagine that kind of pain. When the time came for Ted to do what he had to do with Lily, I felt it. I was right there again in my vets office with my dad begging him to put me to sleep too. It was one of the most horrific things I ever had to do and anyone that has had to do it knows that. I would recommend this book to anyone that loves animals. You don't have to be a dog lover to understand what goes on in this book. And I think you will love to read about their little antics too. Thanks to the Ted and Lily, I just might start slowing writing a book about me and Dakota. They are a little inspiration to me. --->EXCERPTS<--- *This is an Arc of the book so excerpts are subject to change.*I worried for a second she was going to try to discourage me further from choosing this puppy. She studied us both for a moment as I held the runt protectively, and eventually her face softened and relented. I wondered if she wasn't just relieved to have someone take the runt so she could charge more for the rest of her flawless litter. "Seems like she kind of chose you." And then, after a beat, "I suppose that's how it works." She finished with the off-center smile of a car salesman who's just sold a lemon for nearly full price.*I would like to thank Simon & Schuster for a print copy of this book through The Reading Room in exchange for my honest review.*MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

  • Jennifer Masterson
    2018-11-08 01:47

    "Lily and the Octopus" was hysterical before it became sad! The audio version is as good as audio gets! Actor, Michael Urie, absolutely hit this out of the ballpark!!! People tell me they don't like audio, they tried audio a long time ago but it didn't work for them or they ask me what book is good on audio since I listen to so many of them. I'm here to tell you that THIS BOOK is 10 Star audio! If you want to give audio a try look no further. Michael Urie makes this story come to life!So why 4 Stars instead of 5? For me personally the story lost me a little while they were battling the octopus. Now, that doesn't mean it's going to be like that for others. I personally have a hard time with magical realism. Ted is in his early 40's and is still reeling from a breakup with his boyfriend. He has a crappy therapist, Jenny, and now his dog, Lily, is sick. Lily is his everything. He's had her for all her 12 years. She even talks! Which I found quite clever because if you have a dog it's likely you have a voice for that dog, too! Am I right!? Now some Goodreads friends of mine along my journey with this novel said they won't read this if Lily is going to die. We know right away she is. This is not a spoiler. I'm here to tell you it's OK to read this. Every once in awhile (seldom) my mother shared wisdom. She once said, "Having a dog is good for children. It shows them the cycle of life". That's what this book does, but for adults. So I say read it or listen to it, don't be afraid. It's worth the journey! Oh, one fact I learned from this novel. Rorschach from the Rorschach Test was hot. Like Brad Pitt hot! This is true! I googled it! Lol!Recommended!

  • Emily May
    2018-11-08 06:50

    This is a very cute story about a man and his beloved dachshund. You probably already know what happens, as is the nature of these kinds of books, but it was far less cheesy than it might have been. Rather than spending too long on emotional manipulation, the book focuses on Ted Flask - a lonely, middle-aged gay man who loves no one as much as his dog. It's this part of the story that really makes it a tearjerker. The - for want of a better word - pathetic nature of Ted's love is heart-wrenching, more so than the familiar narrative. We come to learn how Lily was the runt of the litter and she chose him when he went to have his pick of the pups. Lily also "talks" throughout the novel, though it's not clear if this is magical realism or supposed to be all in Ted's mind; I guess it doesn't really matter either way. I must admit that Lily's "voice" got a little annoying after a while with all the CAPS and exclamation points, but maybe that's just me. I also didn't love Ted's constant repetition about the octopus and how he "looks it in the eye" and actually talks to it (it's not a spoiler to say what the octopus is, but just in case, I have tagged it: (view spoiler)[it's a tumor (hide spoiler)]). I found it kind of... silly after a while. In an otherwise sensitive and emotionally smart novel, it felt a little jarring.At its heart, this book is about a relationship, a friendship filled with love. It does not matter that Lily is a dog - she is also a huge part of Ted's life, and his level of feeling for her is palpable. The part where (view spoiler)[she has a seizure and urinates on him but he just keeps holding her through it (hide spoiler)] kind of broke me :'(I need to go give my own furbaby some love. Look at that bitchy little face ♥Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • DeB MaRtEnS
    2018-11-01 01:30

    Here I go, bucking the flow of the majority opinion. Lily and the Octopus did not work for me. Quirky books are generally favourites of mine. I am a pile of mush over dog stories. But somehow this missed the mark badly -I am Not a fan. This is not a story about a dog. This book does not remotely resemble "The Art of Racing in the Rain", aside from the thin comparisons that a dog and people interact, and there are teary moments. "Lily and the Octopus" is the story of a very self-absorbed man, his love life, his loneliness and his sick dachshund. The parts about Lily, the sweet anecdotes, were lovely. However, the focus was primarily on the tumour on the side of her head and how it would affect Ted. I didn't expect that the intimate dating life of Ted would be weighted as emotionally significant as poor Lily going into surgery. I couldn't "buy in" to the animated tumour- Octopus, with its voice and eye. The "coming of age" mythology played out in Captain Nemo-esque fantasies, with Ted fighting the Octopus (rather than Moby Dick) didn't resonate. Ted's angst about his personal life wasn't quirky; rather it was somber and essentially central to the story. Not Lily. The one place that I could relate was Lily's final moments. I have been there myself. Having been so detached from the rest of the book, I was almost astonished to find myself with tears poring down my cheeks in Lily's final moments.I expected something really good. Because the publicity blurb linked the novel to "The Art of Racing in the Rain", one of my favourite books, I anticipated a similarly thoughtful and wise meeting of words. "Lily and the Octopus" is not that book, and the comparison totally ticked me off. Probably lost a star because of it! Obviously we must all form our own opinions. I think that the publishers managed to pull that darn octopus over a large percentage of the readers' eyes, remembering only Lily and her sad pull on the heartstrings. (Edited April, 2017)

  • Elyse
    2018-11-07 06:52

    "Lily is nuzzled into my armpit as I lie on top of the covers in my own bed. She's radiating heat like the sun, but as long as she's comfortable I'm not going to move. My sweat is cementing us together. I find the idea of adhesive, the idea of her being tethered to me, comforting". Given so many people have read this book before me -- I'll try to add a few other things that I didn't read in other reviews --- other than, I really loved it as many other readers have too. This book is sweet, lovable, schmaltzy, sad, and all-around wonderful! I cried at the end --- and I love Lily, and his best friend, Ted! ......Meredith is Ted's sister. She is a minor character -- supporting character -- I felt a strong admiration for her. At her 'own' wedding...Meredith had been watching Ted, her brother, -- keeping a 'sister's -love- eye on him. After the wedding ceremony in San Francisco, Meredith, Franklin, ( her husband), Jeffrey, ( Ted's boyfriend), and Ted, all retire to the Top of the Mark, a rooftop bar across California Street from their hotel. For those of you who have been to THE TOP OF THE'll know the author got the descriptions right when he wrote this: "At night, the buildings around us twinkle like the night sky; in the distance the Golden Gate Bridge is dappled with tiny, shimmering headlights". Being in the Top of the Mark - for a drink after a wedding party - my sisters - brought back many memories. I was only 16 years old at the time. How I got into that bar - I have no idea... but I was with the wedding party - and the maid of honor. Continuing the conversation in the bar....Meredith asks Ted.... "Are You Happy?""For You?", I ask. "Of Course!" "No. Are YOU happy?""I'm not sure how to answer her truthfully. "Why do you ask?""I don't know. I've been watching you this weekend". ...... .... .....The conversation continues. Ted confides to his sister that he is pretty darn sure hispartner, Jeffrey, is cheating on him. Ted doesn't want to face his relationship problem yet. At the moment he is worried about his dog, Lily. The dialogue that continues for a couple of pages between Ted and Meredith was very endearing to me. It must have been for Ted, too. Ted says, "My sister is all grown up. I'm grateful we did our growing together". My heart was aching for both Ted and Lily. I adored them both! Right from the start - I was smiling over 'debates' that Ted tells us he has with Lily. "DEBATES", debates with your dog!!! --- gotta love it!! They would have their 'Ryan' debates. Ted is a Ryan Gosling man. Lily - she - is a Ryan Reynolds 'gal'. Touching....loving...heartfelt....heartbreaking...and and a little magically surreal!laugh - cry - love!

  • Diane Barnes
    2018-10-31 22:52

    You can't say I wasn't warned. First of all, dog stories tend to have sad endings. Then on the first page you learn that Lily, the dachshund is 12 years old, 84 in people years. Again, not promising. Then Ted, the human, notices the octopus (tumor) on her head. So we have a 300 page novel about a 12 year old dog with cancer, how did I think it was going to end? Especially when I cried the first time on page 26?Yes, I knew it would end badly, because dogs don't live as long as we do, and because we give our hearts to our pets, and they return that love a thousand times without asking for anything in return. And Ted, the human, had issues, like a psychotherapist named Jenny who was incompetent, and a broken relationship with a boyfriend, and a mother who didn't love him enough (according to him). But he had a really great best friend, and a really great sister, and Lily, the dachshund. He also had a great sense of humor, and a unique way of looking at the world, when he wasn't trying to hide from it.I read this book even knowing I would cry at the end, for the same reason we have dogs in the first place: Because the journey is worth the pain at the finish line.

  • Bianca
    2018-11-12 00:52

    I don't really know how to rate this novel.Spoilerish review.I'm sure many will love this novel. I'm not sure I did. Actually, I know I didn't. I didn't hate it either. It was readable but I became tired of the forty-two year old Ted obsessing and waxing lyrically about his dachshund, Lily. Lily is twelve years old and at the end of her life. She's got a tumour on her head - the Octopus. The majority of the novel is about Ted either reminiscing about Lily as a puppy, or talking about their mundane, tedious life or he's agonising over what to do about Lily's 'octopus'. There is conversation going on between Ted and Lily. And between Ted and the Octopus. I know I'm supposed to find it quirky and endearing; for whatever reasons, I didn't. Somewhere around the 75% mark, the novel takes a fantastical turn, and I had to go back to check if I'd skipped any pages because it discombobulated me.I probably sound heartless. I do love animals, and I did cry at the end of the book. But I usually cry when there's death.This is also a novel about loneliness and about being numb and purposeless.Look, it's not a bad novel, especially for a debut. It just didn't quite hit the right marks, as far as I'm concerned. 3 starsI've received this novel via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for the opportunity to read and review.Cover: 4 stars

  • Carolyn
    2018-11-06 02:54

    Ted Flask is a 42 year old writer who is recovering from a breakup with his longtime partner. He is lonely and isolated but his best friend Lily, a 12y old dachshund makes his life worth living. He and Lily share everything, good times and bad, pizza and monopoly nights, icecream and movies. When Ted discovers that Lily has an 'octopus' growing on her head he realises the time he has left with Lily may be cut all too short.This is one for dog lovers and anyone who has had to part with an aging furry friend. Ted reminisces about choosing Lily as a puppy and seeing the wonders of the world through her eyes and remembers their lives together. He realises that she taught him so much about how to enjoy life and love without reserve. The book is often funny as Ted navigates his way through the process of saying goodbye to his beloved dog. He has an incompetent psychiatrist and a vet he doesn't trust. Although Ted borders on obsessive at times, Lily is very cute and her voice comes through clearly in the novel as Ted hears her through her excited body language and translates it for us in CAPITAL! LETTERS! such as the time she first gets to taste icecream "THAT! IS! AMAZING! WE! MUST! HAVE! THIS! TO! LICK! EVERY! SINGLE! DAY!"Of course if you read this you must realise that there will be a sad chapter towards the end of the book and I would suggest you don't embarrass yourself by reading it on public transport (as I did) unless you are exceptionally unemotional. With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Simon and Schuster for a digital copy to read and review

  • Phrynne
    2018-10-27 05:39

    Just lately I have started to realise that I do not always care for magical realism, especially when it takes over what is otherwise a very enjoyable book. Consequently when the Octopus of the title started to take over this book I started to enjoy it less.Anyway the book begins brilliantly and I enjoyed the little anecdotes about Lily as a pup and about Ted himself. Talking to the dog and having the dog answer was just part of the fun. All was going well and then the Octopus arrived. That was okay to start with as I could see it was Ted's way of dealing with the issue. My problems began when he insisted that everyone else should see it as an octopus too and then we got into really deep waters when Ted started his fight against it. That was not supposed to be a pun, but the part in the ocean left me bewildered.The ending of course is heartbreakingly lovely especially if you have been there yourself. Three stars for Lily and her beautiful life. No stars for the octopus.

  • Cathrine ☯️
    2018-10-22 01:51

    3.75★Having raised 4 dachshunds myself I could not pass this one up. It’s a unique, funny, charming, quirky, defensive, obsessive, and problematic story, just like the breed itself. A fictional tail about a man named Ted and his beloved weiner dog Lily, but since the author really had a dog by that name, no doubt a lot of truth throughout the pages and a loving tribute to her.If you’re not a dog lover, or take the Caesar Milan (all due respect) or the detached—It’s just a dog (no due respect) approach to our four-legged friends, perhaps not for you. But if you’ve ever obsessed over one and loved it more than most humans, this will assure you there are many of us out there. It made me laugh, remember, frown, then cry of course. Hmm, that last part is borderline fiction because I sobbed. Those tears are my own loving tributes that flow from the best of times in my life. My dad always said “A dog is a heartbreak waiting to happen.” Bring it on. I wouldn’t have it any other way.Nothing to do with the book but I include a link to a 30 second video that shows perfectly what having a dachshund in your life can be like. I had one just like it named Liesl. If I jumped off a cliff she would not hesitate to follow. I missed her every day until she came back to me in the form of a rat terrier named Amie. She and all the ones that came before are the reasons I can read stories like this because there’s always a post script. The love and devotion they leave behind compels you to pay it forward to another one, or two or three.

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2018-10-21 01:30

    Onvan : Lily and the Octopus - Nevisande : Steven Rowley - ISBN : 1501126229 - ISBN13 : 9781501126222 - Dar 307 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2016

  • Susan (aka Just My Op)
    2018-10-25 23:53

    Anthropomorphism reigns supreme in this novel, which initially read like a memoir. Perhaps that's because it is apparently semi-autobiographical. Well, parts of it, anyway.Anyone who has loved an animal can understand battling for that animal's life, whether the threat is in the form of a tumor or an octopus.However, the whole octopus thing got old long before it got completely out of control. The protagonist waxes poetic about the octopus when I want to know what the vet said, what Ted is going to DO about that octopus. Instead, I got silliness and angst.I liked the voice of Lily. Ted was not so likable. Too much about his failed relationships, too much ineffective navel-gazing. For someone who fears addiction, he is more than willing to pop whatever stray pill presents itself – Vicodin or Valium – either will do, washed down with alcohol.For me, this book needed less fantasy, less going off the deep end (quite literally), less Moby-Dick wannabe, and more Lily. And it certainly didn't need self-absorbed Ted, musing over the octopus and talking about Lily, to think, “She failed to protect us.That is when the octopus came.She is the one at fault.She is the one to blame.”I know my opinion is in the minority about this book, so if it appeals, read it. For me, it was a no-go.I was given an advance reader's e-copy of this book for review. The quote may have changed in the published edition.

  • Morris
    2018-10-22 22:42

    Friends, let me tell you right now, if you are a dog or an animal lover you are going to flat-out ugly cry over “Lily and the Octopus.”I mean snot running down your face, inconsolable, nothing-will-ever-be-ok-again sobbing.The other thing I will tell you is that you will be so, so glad you read it. It’s a beautiful work of literary fiction about the nature of life and love told with a lot of humor and sadness. As the description says, the joy of this particular book is in the reading of it. A summary will not actually convey what it’s all really about, and aside from the crying, I think everyone will take something different away from it. This is definitely one of those novels that is colored by what the reader brings to the table.What “Lily and the Octopus” gave me was the memory of the pain of loss, but most importantly, the memory of love and it all being worth it. Animals and humans alike, they’re worth it in the end.I can’t recommend it enough.This unbiased review is based upon a copy of the book won through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program.

  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
    2018-10-19 22:32

    You can read all of my reviews at Lit.Wit.Wine.Dine.Lily and the Octopus opens on a Thursday evening. Ted knows it was a Thursday because that's the day he and Lilly, his beloved dachshund, reserve for talking about boys they think are cute. (They don't always agree but they do tend toward younger men.) He suddenly notices the octopus. On Lily's head. He's not sure how or when it came to reside there and he clearly feels some guilt over not having noticed it sooner. He, of course, understands what the octopus is but he will not call it anything other than "the octopus". Not when speaking about it to his best friend, Trent. Or to his questionably competent therapist, Jenny. Not even to Lilly's own veterinarian.Throughout the book, we learn about how Ted came to choose Lily (the runt of the litter!), and the many adventures (real and imagined) they've had together throughout the years.The one thing that struck me throughout this story was how authentic Ted's voice was. There was no doubt in my mind that Steven Rowley had loved and lost a dog at some point. The anthropomorphizing was so spot-on! I can just see Lily talking to Ted. A head tilt here, an averted gaze there. I totally get how he knew what she was thinking at every moment.I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that, at the end of this book, Lilly does lose her battle with the octopus. And yes, I did cry a fair amount. But this book is so much more than your typical loved-and-lost dog story . It's about self-discovery, unconditional love, and a life well-lived.To be fair, I realize have a different perspective than most on the loss of an old dog such as Lily. You see, Lily was one of the lucky ones. She lived with and was loved by the same person her whole life. Only 10% of dogs are so lucky. 10%!! And though she was 12, which is not super-old for a doxie, she had lived a fairly long life. So, while I felt so sorry for Ted, I was able to feel happy for Lily in many ways. I see so much suffering and cruelty in the dog rescue world. I wish they could all live and die like Lily; with life-long respect, dignity, and love.I loved reading this interview with the author featured on Electric Lit. He talks about giving Lily a voice, his insistence that Lily have an octopus (a giraffe would not have worked), and his unwillingness to allow the book to be de-gayed. The latter of which, thankfully, was not an issue to anyone except Surely (not her real name) on Goodreads.I'm so happy that I finally read this book. Some part of me probably procrastinated in some Freudian way fearing the sadness but I needn't have worried. The scales still managed to tip toward happy here. And I can now cross this book off my 2017 Mount TBR Challenge. I'll also be posting a link to this review from Read Diverse Books as I'm participating in The Read Diverse 2017 Challenge this year as well. Read Diverse Books is committed to reviewing, discussing, and promoting books written by and about people of color and other marginalized voices. If you're not already subscribing, please check out Naz' blog!Many thanks to Simon and Schuster for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • PattyMacDotComma
    2018-10-21 23:53

    4★BEGIN! THE! STORY! OF! ME![NetGalley requested no quoting from preview copy, but I just had to – sorry.]The “me” of this command is Lily, a small, elderly (87 in people years, we’re told) Dachsund, Ted’s relentlessly loving, entertaining companion. Ted’s love for Lily is just as relentless. Even if it hurts. Even when it hurts. Lily was the runt of her litter, and she chose Ted. He says he couldn’t tell all the brothers and sisters apart “tumbling over one another like noodles in a pot of boiling water. . . a pile of paws and tails.” But Lily, the runt, ambled over, chewed his shoelace and untied it. He picks her up and with her tucked up under his chin, her tail wagged “like the pendulum of the smallest, most fragile grandfather clock.”Ted reckons the breeder was pleased because it left what looked like a perfect litter for the next customers. But Ted knows he took home the pick. She is “fiercely loved.”He’s a gay guy with parents, a close sister, and gay friends, loving, loyal friends who all accept Lily as part of the family. He and Lily have a regular schedule of pizza nights and Monopoly nights and lots of conversations. When she’s excited, she goes into SINGLE! EXCLAMATIONS! like the first sentence here.I’ve had a lot of dogs in my life, including many working dogs who lived outside. But I also had a long-haired Dachsund who, like Lily, slept under the covers so it seemed she would suffocate. I don’t know how they breathe under there, but I guess any smells would be an attraction rather than a deterrence. We meet Ted’s family, friends, and ex who all watch him sink into alcohol, pain-killers and Valium as he copes with the realisation that his girl is ageing fast and what’s more, he’s found a scary growth on her head that is the octopus of the story.Although the story is Lily’s, it is also Ted’s. We get to enjoy all the fun, silly things they’ve done, culminating in a hair-raising seagoing adventure reminiscent of Life of Pi. I loved Life of Pi. It’s fun to be carried away on these unbelievable escapades.Rowley writes well and his characters are believable. The author tells us at the end that this began from a short story, and while a short story wouldn’t have been enough, this felt too long. I reckon a tight couple of hundred pages would have done justice to Lily, but I’m sure others will love it as it is.Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster (Australia) for allowing me a copy to review.

  • Peter Monn
    2018-11-07 04:51

    Omg! Sooooo good. I have not ugly cried in a book in a really long time. My full review will be up on my booktube channel at

  • *eKa*
    2018-11-12 23:52

    "The very best thing about dogs is how they just know when you need them most, and they'll drop everything that they're doing to sit with you a while."It's true. So true. That's what my beagle do. Though my dog is only two years and a half old right now, I already get myself ready that that day will come. One day it will be my turn. This book is just for everyone who owns dog or those who love to read sweet relationship between human and animal. It has the fantasy element in it, which is awesome to me. I really love the conversation between Ted and her daschund, Lily. And also him with the Octopus. Who is this Octopus, anyway? Well, it's a secret. I won't give it away but you may find what it is in other review. It's a symbolism for something bad. I really love this book, but to be honest I don't really like the beginning. I don't know exactly why. Maybe it's kinda hard for me to get into Ted's life. I mean, why he would bother go see a therapist if he is so uncooperative in almost his session. That's all. That's why I only gave it 4 stars.

  • Betsy Robinson
    2018-11-13 23:43

    Beautifully written, funny, sad, charming, and, for anybody who's loved a dog, so achingly familiar it's hard to contain. The book, a love story, requires a surrender to imagination. There is a point where it goes from shallow imagination to deep ocean seas. You can fight it; the moment was so sudden that my first impulse was "No." But then I said "What the hey?" and dove. I recommend diving, swimming, and letting the waters do with you what they may.Postscript: I've had three dogs in my adulthood.Here's Maya, a dachshund mix. She is with me now and so much in this book applies to her and me. And here are Daisy (left) (who once had an "octopus"), and Rosie (right) who was deaf and had seizures. There is no way I can adequately express my love for my dogs, and the species in general. But Steven Rowley does it for all of us who are blessed by these angels in dog suits. Bravo!

  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
    2018-11-02 23:27

    EXCERPT: The octopus has a good grip and clings tightly over her eye. It takes me a minute, but I gather my nerve and poke it. It's harder than I would have imagined. Less like a water balloon, more like . . . bone. It feels subcutaneous, yet there it is, out in the open for all to see. I count its arms, turning Lily's head around to the back, and sure enough, there are eight. The octopus looks angry as much as out of place. Aggressive perhaps is a better word. Like it is announcing itself and would like the room. I'm not going to lie. It's as frightening as it is confounding. I saw a video somewhere, sometime, of an octopus that camouflaged itself so perfectly along the ocean floor that it was completely undetectable until some unfortunate whelk or crab or snail came along and it emerged, striking with deadly precision. I remember going back and watching the video again and again, trying to locate the octopus in hiding. After countless viewings I could acknowledge its presence, sense its energy, its lurking, its intent to pounce, even if I couldn't entirely make it out in form. Once you had seen it, you couldn't really unsee it—even as you remained impressed with its ability to hide so perfectly in plain sight.ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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.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.MY THOUGHTS: I expected this to be a sad book, given the subject, but it wasn’t, at least not to the degree that I imagined. And I am writing this as the person who, when my dog went missing the week before last, spent two whole days driving around the streets searching for him, mobilising the town and rural posties to look for him on their rounds, and harassing the vets, the pound and the SPCA. Day three found me in tears, quite certain that he had gone off to die, as elderly blue heelers are prone to do, completely immobilized by my grief. Happy ending, he was located late on the afternoon of the third day, hungry and footsore, making his way back home. $200 later in pound fees and a quick trip to the vet to have him checked over and he was home. Where he had been for those three days remains a mystery; no one sighted him, and he's not talking!Anyway, back to Lily and the Octopus. Dogs make the most amazing friends. They are loyal and loving. The emotions we, their humans, feel when our dogs' health is failing, are extreme. Ted is alone, other than for Lily, and has endowed Lily with many human traits. Well, maybe Lily could play Monopoly. Just because I have never tried playing board games with my dog doesn't mean that it can't be done. He is heavily emotionally invested in her, and when her life is threatened, he fights that threat every way he knows how. And in doing so, he learns a lot about himself, about responsibility, and about making tough decisions. So, I didn't cry while reading this book. I smiled a lot, at times recognizing myself in Ted. It was a sweet, nostalgic read for me, bringing back memories of previous dogs I am lucky enough to have had in my life. Thank you to Simon and Schuster via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my profile page or the 'about' page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my blog

  • Matt
    2018-11-07 03:37

    Rowley presents a heart-filled story about Lily the dachshund and her owner, Edward "Ted" Flask. As the novel opens, Flask introduces the reader to Lily and the 'octopus' that sits atop her head. This unwelcome cephalopod overtakes Flasks life as he ponders its intrusion into the daily joy he and Lily have created. There is also the undertone of necessary medical options to rid Lily of this most horrendous visitor. Flask switches between flashback moments that include all of his time with Lily and the current narrative that tells the increasingly daunting tale of living with the eight-legged storm cloud. Giving voice to both Lily and the 'octopus', Flask is able to vilify the latter while creating an angelic view of the former for readers to love from the safety of their own lives. As the 'octopus' takes a deeper hold on Lily, Flask becomes more adamant to exorcise things in the face of a blunt reality that pits an elderly dog against a ruthless killer that cares about nothing but itself. Using wonderful imagery tied to the moniker he chooses, Flask allows the readers to see the multi-faceted battles he has with this creature and the depths to which he will go to protect his best friend from any harm. As Lily remains somewhat naive to what is happening to her, Flask does all he can as a parental unit to soften the blow as he comes to terms with what the future holds. There is no easy road to travel, though Flask does not simply let this beat him, even if the 'octopus' does overtake his life before pulling Lily closer towards the brink. A story that even those without an attachment to a pet ought to read at some point in their lives, Rowley stuns readers with his brashness and honest presentation, injecting humour at those times where the tension seems to be too much. Superb seems too bland a word to describe this book, though surely a touched heart will use its own lexicon to express the missing sentiment.I am not a pet owner, nor have I ever had the ability to fully understand the intricacies of this addition to anyone's family. I always respected people with these sorts of connections and tried to comprehend the vast emotional investment associated with owning and loving a pet. When I met someone recently who touched my life, she introduced me to a small Lily-like dog, one whose passion for life was stilted when the surgeon's knife came down to alter his being. While I was not there for the recovery, I had just been there, so I could sense the angst that this person felt for the most important being in her life. As I read more of this book, I grew to better understand her connection with the dog she has had for numerous years, as I did for Ted's connection to Lily. I could finally wrap my head around the pain of seeing this family member pulled out of their comfortable niche and thrust into a world that we, as cognitive, synthesizing humans can only partially grasp. The complete cluelessness of the animal is only exacerbated by the pain that cannot be adequately explained to our pet and whose own sentiments cannot bear vocalized in anything other than whimpers or barks. Rowley captures this completely as he pushes the reader closer to his two characters, while presenting the indescribable task of trying to rationalize everything and personify the struggle. That Rowley chose never to have Ted utter the word 'tumour' is also quite noticeable, and somewhat telling. However, that he chose that name is even more interesting as he personified this thing throughout the novel. His description of it being multi-tentacled and possesses a powerful ink pouch that can blind aptly describes some of the symptoms that can overtake any victim. However, as the reader will discover, Ted also uses this moniker to rid his life of its presence, at least for a time. He can do nothing except watch as Lily is taken over by the tumour, but will not stand by and let its eight-angled grip suck the life out of his best friend, no matter the sacrifice to his own sanity. Gowley brilliantly explores this approach to medical phenomena that leave those afflicted (and affected) helpless to come to terms with the extensive realities that befall diagnoses of this nature.I cannot put into words how this book moved me, which is shocking for many who know my love for books and lengthy chatter about their intricate nature. I simply read (listened) in awe as the novel progressed and sought to reach out to touch Lily, Ted, and anyone I knew with a pet of their own. I wanted to rush out and get a pet of my own while also cowering in fear as to whether I would become a Ted if I did. How Gowley has made such an impact on me, I will never know. That said, it is a book that is not just a recommendation for anyone I have ever or will ever cross paths with, but a definitely requirement.Kudos Mr. Gowley for helping my eyes to water and my jaw to plummet to the floor. You are amazing!Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

  • Diane
    2018-11-12 22:42

    I love Lily! And hate the Octopus. And Animal Surgical and Emergency Center (p. 252) is a real place. Been there. Many times.Congratulations to author Steven Rowley on the success of his first book. I think he did an excellent job in telling story of Ted Flask and his delightful doxie, Lily. One of my favorite things about the story is how Lily's thoughts/voice are depicted...example how Lily describes her first taste of icecream: "THIS!IS!AMAZING!WE!MUST!HAVE!THIS!TO!LICK!EVERY!SINGLE!DAY!" (This depiction is also important to the story in another way). The bond between humans and animals is a very special one; those of us that are fortunate enough to have had this experience will undoubtedly relate to this book in that very special way. So to all my animal friends, I say give this book a go -- that said, (view spoiler)[ I finished it Friday evening before bed, and it took most of the day on Saturday for the puffiness from crying to go away.(hide spoiler)]I have quite a few sticky tabs coming out of this book....and one quote in particular is Ted's "Thanksgiving in June" tribute to Lily: "... I am thankful for Lily, who, since she entered my life, has taught me everything I know about patience and kindness and meeting adversity with quiet dignity and grace. No one makes me laugh harder, or want to hug them tighter. You have truly lived up to the promise of man's best friend."

  • Bam
    2018-11-11 05:44

    If you are a dog lover, you are going to love this book! But be sure to have the tissues handy as you read. Lily is a sweet twelve-year-old dachshund whose owner Ted suddenly notices has a large lump on her head. Ted can't face calling it a lump or a tumor so he thinks of it as an octopus instead. Ted is a gay man in his early forties who lives alone so Lily is pretty much his whole world, not counting his mother, sister, and best friend who are, of course, living their own busy lives. So Ted decides to wage war with this 'octopus' who is threatening his precious dog's life and this is where a touch of magical realism enters the story as Ted devises ways to make the octopus leave her alone...while putting off the inevitable decision.As Ted wages this useless battle, he learns a lot about himself and love and opening up to others. About really living and about facing death when it comes. "A heart is judged not by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." This is a touching story told in a very unusual, creative way.

  • F
    2018-11-08 03:40

    So sad. Knew going into it would be sad.It started & ended well but the bit in between with the octopus & going away to sea?????Not for me at all. Hate magical realism

  •  Lisa A
    2018-10-24 03:40

    The story opens with Ted discovering his beloved dachshund has an abnormal growth, which is referred to as an "octopus" for much of the book. I liked the beginning chapters and thought the "conversations" between Lily and Ted were cute. Midway through I found myself not liking the story as much for these reasons: -Even at the beginning of the book, there were hints about Ted's rather self-absorbed personality. (view spoiler)[In everyone’s shock, they forget to ask about Lily. I just sip my champagne and roll with it as best I can. But inside I’m wondering why on the day of my sister’s union more people aren’t thinking about me.Okay, Ted. Gee, it is your sister's wedding day, and during the calls to surprised family members who weren't privy to the elopement, you are wondering why you aren't the center of attention instead. Wow! (hide spoiler)]- I really had little interest in the dating references.- Ted's scenes with his therapist goes from mildly amusing, to just plain annoying. If you don't think your therapist is smart enough and you (the patient) are going to answer the therapist's questions in a sarcastic, snarky way -- Hey, find a new therapist!! - The inclusion of a really weird scene near the end of the book ruined the story for me. Was it supposed to be based in reality? Was Ted dreaming the whole thing or did he have one too many alcoholic drinks plus valium combos? -Finally, according to the search function on my Kindle, the word "octopus" is used 396 times. For a sense of perspective, the entire book is only 320 pages long. So, I really did love parts of the story, especially that whole pet and dog owner connection. Also, I realize this book is just as much about Ted's psychological journey, as it is about Lily's serious health issues. Unfortunately, there were too many times that Ted came across as unlikeable and immature. That somehow managed to overshadow the aspects of the story I did like and feel emotionally connected to. Four stars for the Lily's story and two stars for Ted's: 3 stars overall.

  • MaryCarrasco
    2018-10-25 23:54

    Ted meets Lily, a dachshund, when she is just twelve weeks old. Ted falls deeply in love with Lily and they form a bond that's deeper than most friendships. So when Ted experiences the breakup of a long-term relationship, he relies heavily on his love for Lily to get him through. He dedicates his time to game nights, movie nights and long discussions with his dog.Beneath the surface of this story, is a deeper one. It's about learning to let go and dealing with different levels of loss. It's about opening yourself up to the world around you in order to live life to the fullest. This book was full of adventure, laughter and heartbreak. At one point, I was moved to tears. That's when I knew that, Lily and the Octopus, was a five star read. It reached my heart and I highly recommend it.

  • Toni
    2018-10-24 01:49

    NEW UPDATE: Nov.8, 2016 Dear Goodreads' Friends, Please consider voting for "Lily and the Octopus" as the BEST NEW AUTHOR in Goodreads 2016 CHOICE AWARDS. Please note, this is MY opinion, no one made me say this, under any circumstances. Well, I'd might do it if Lily herself spoke to me; but I wouldn't tell anyone about that, not even Steven! Mmm.Update: June 7, 2016, The Audiobook is out today and it's FANTASTIC. Michael Urie (Ugly Betty; The Good Wife) is the reader, and he's perfect for this book. Excellent voice, so well done. Go Listen! (yes, I love this book.) This is not your typical book about a dog! powerful yet lovely book for anyone who's loved an animal, especially a dog. you will laugh out loud, which I love to do when reading books, but you will also be moved to tears. It's a journey you'll want to go on willingly, especially after you hear Lilys's opinions on pizza, monopoly, yes the game, getting wet; and well, just lots of things. So much more to add. One of my favorite lines: "My therapist's office is painted the color of unsalted butter." I just love this.Ted got Lily, an adorable dachshund, twelve years ago as a puppy. Right before his twenty-ninth birthday, the age he and his friend Trent said, it would all happen for them. Their lives would have meaning by then, they would be working at great jobs, doing what they always dreamed of, met that special person, you know.Well, he looked at his new puppy and by end of the day, maybe seven hours later, he was madly in love, with Lily.We live life with Ted and Lily, all life's ups and downs told in such a unique way, by this new writer that I almost hold this book sacred, I love it so much.Ted will tell you about his relationship, then how it broke up after six years!!! Eighteen months later he's living everyday just with Lily, doing everything with her. Yes, Lily, his DOG. He stops dating, socializing, just going out. Each night is a special night with Lily, adorable, but this guy needs more than a pet and a therapist named Jenny with walls of unsalted butter.That's when he sees the "octopus" on Lily's head. She says, "oh that." Ted is like uhh, "yes, that." He doesn't want to call it a, t tu ------, because that might make it real, or alive. They have to wait till Monday to see the Vet.The remainder of this AWESOME book is about Ted and Lily, and how they make it through their lives together. It is not as predictable as you would think, so you have to read it, primarily to ENJOY IT! I'M JUST CRAZY ABOUT THIS BOOK! By the way, Lily speaks in all caps too. She gets excited.Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the privilege of reading an early copy of this delightful book.I'M FIRST IN LINE FOR THE AUDIO VERSION OF THIS BOOK AT MY LIBRARY. SO EXCITED. AND I ALREADY READ THE BOOK!

  • Maria (Big City Bookworm)
    2018-11-08 01:39

    First, I would like to thank Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review as part of their Summer Fiction Blog Tour.3.5 stars rated downI’m not really sure how to go about reviewing Lily & the Octopus. Was it a good book? Yes. Was it well written? Yes. I think the problem for me is that I couldn’t really relate to it at all. I’m sure that there are countless readers who enjoyed the hell out of this novel. Readers who could relate to it and who understood the issues that Ted was dealing with.I myself have never had a dog. While I haven’t experienced life with a dog, I have experienced life with many smaller pets. We’ve had at least one bird in my family for as long as I can remember. Our home has always felt empty without one. They don’t live as long as dogs, but they do come pretty close and we definitely do grow attached to them. On top of birds, between my sister and myself, we have always had some sort of rodent, whether it be a hamster, gerbil, rat or guinea pig. While these animals come no where close to the life span of a dog, once again, we still grow attached and love them just the same.I don’t think that my lack of relating to the story stems from the fact that I’ve never had a dog or that I haven’t grown attached to a pet, because I definitely have. Maybe it was the extent of how attached Ted was to Lily that I’m struggling with. To be honest, I can’t quite put my finger on it. I think Ted maybe had a bit of an obsession with Lily. Maybe his mental instability caused that, but there was just something about their relationship that I couldn’t relate to, no matter how hard I tried.Lily and the Octopus is a wonderfully written novel filled with metaphors and beautiful symbolism. It was an emotional read and I think that it dealt with many different topics perfectly. Not only did Lily and the Octopus tell the story of a man and his relationship with his dog, but it also told the story of a man who has been struggling to cope with his recent breakup from his long term boyfriend. Ted is dealing with depression and heartbreak and all of this somehow wraps up into a witty novel about a man and his dog.Lily and the Octopus was lighthearted when it needed to be and serious and heartfelt when it needed to be. Like I said, this novel was extremely well written and I think it dealt with heavy topics wonderfully, I just wish I could have related to it a little more. I had a hard time connecting with Ted as a character. He felt slightly over the top and dramatic at times. I understand this is normal considering what he has been going through, but I mostly just found it a little off-putting.I loved the idea of Lily having a voice. Regardless of the fact that she wasn’t actually speaking, I think the idea of Lily speaking back to Ted was a great storytelling device. It gave Lily a personality of her own and actually made her more relatable as a character.This novel is an emotional one and I can only imagine how those who better relate to Ted and his relationship with his dog will feel while reading this novel. It’s a shame that I didn’t love this novel as much as I thought I would and that it didn’t live up to the hype for me personally.While it wasn’t everything that I hoped it would be, I know that it will be perfect for so many other readers!--Initial post reading thoughts:Lily and the Octopus was a truly heartfelt story. It deals with heavy topics with sense of humour while also staying true and profound.

  • Sara
    2018-10-21 05:39

    4.5 stars - rounded up.Have you ever loved an animal? Felt the unquestionable love and devotion of a dog? Looked into a pair of eyes, not human, and thought this is the "person" who understands me better than anyone else on earth? If you have, this is a book for you.I'm not sure what I was expecting when I requested this book from my library, but I know I got more than I had anticipated. I felt the anguish of Ted in his struggle to save Lily from the octopus and in his own struggles to have a genuine life, a full life, a life that is lived and not just observed. Steven Rowley is a powerful writer, because he pulls us into the story. It felt as if much of what was happening, was happening to me. I pulled for Ted to win, or, if he could not win, to endure. I felt Lily's soft tongue licking my face, saying it was okay, even if it wasn't.This story came from the heart of Steven Rowley. I hope his heart has a few more stories to tell us. Even half as good as this one, they would be worth listening to.

  • Alissa Patrick
    2018-11-13 04:40

    I am not crying. YOU are.I'm going to go strangle-hug my dog now.