Let me start off by warning you now, this review contains spoilers.
Lily and the Octopus By Steven Rowley. Oh how I hated this book. A book about dogs. A tear-jerker. A book Brie should love! Oh how they were wrong.
First off, Ted, Lily’s owner. This guy. I hate him. And that’s probably why I hated the book. Ted is depressed. Ted is a narcissist and doesn’t have many friends. He’s anthropomorphized Lily to the point where they play Monopoly and talk about which boys they have crushes on.
A talking dog? Well, normally I’d be all in for that. A sad story about a man and his love for his dog? Yep, that sounds like a book I’ll love. However, I disliked this book so much, it actually made me angry.
I wanted to like this book. I wanted to love this book. I…just…can’t. It started around the time Ted notices “the octopus” on Lily’s head. Is he delusional? Is that his cute way of avoiding the fact that THIS IS A TUMOR AND LILY NEEDS MEDICAL ATTENTION? Even when he does go to the vet, he still refers to it as the octopus. “My dog, Lily, see, she has this octopus on her head”. OMG. SO STUPID. Ted even mentions that he couldn’t find anything on the internet for “octopus on dog’s head”. Gee, I wonder why.
The book is well written, and so I stuck it out, hoping, HOPING, that it would redeem itself. And then, impossibly, it got worse. There is a huge dream (hallucination?) sequence of Ted taking Lily out on a boat to hunt the octopus and meeting a man who is really the big bad octopus in disguise. It’s possible I would have hated the book less without this part. I might have only moderately disliked it. But I still would have blamed Ted for Lily’s death.
In the end, Lily dies with Ted having done pretty much nothing about it, nothing to take care of her. Why isn’t he seeking serious medical attention for her? It isn’t clear that there was no hope, but Ted just pretends that the only way is to scare the octopus away. He denies all the options given to him by the vet, whom he calls Doogie (after Doogie Howser, MD). Ted even mentions that he didn’t like or trust this vet, he only went there because that was the last vet he’d been to. Ok, that’s fine, go to another vet then! Don’t just sit there and do nothing.
On good reads, I rated this 2 stars. I’m not sure why. Probably only for the fact that it was well written (despite being terrible) and because I really really wanted to like it. When I finished, I wanted to burn it, I hated it so much. I didn’t cry uncontrollably, instead I was filled with rage. Rage for Ted who was too self-absorbed to notice his best friend, his dog, had a massive tumor growing until it was (maybe) too late. Rage for the author for suckering me into reading this pile of crap.
Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I disliked a book this much. No offense to my friend Kimmy who recommended the book and even loaned me her copy.