I have to admit, I was skeptical about reading a book that centered on a gay man and his dog. Being a cat person and a heterosexual woman, I had no idea if I would relate to the characters at all, and for me, the characters are what make a book enjoyable.
I shouldn’t have worried, because the characters in “Lily and the Octopus” by Steven Rowley, were so real and easy to relate to that I was hooked from the first chapter.
Rowley takes what could easily have become a narrow plot and turns it into something rich and amazing. This book delves far beyond the surface, diving into themes so universal, I feel like anyone could find some piece of it to relate to.
The author moves the reader seamlessly from exploring the difficulties of connecting with others to the struggle of accepting the reality of something heartbreaking, to finding the strength to emerge stronger in the end. Though only one of the main characters is human, the story is almost heartbreakingly so. I found myself, again and again, thinking “Yes, that’s it!” about some insight that Ted gained through his struggle.
“Lily and the Octopus” had some scenes that felt very much the same as a dream sequence in a television show. I’ve never been a huge fan of those, and there were times I found myself confused about what was actually happening in this story. But somehow, instead of creating a disjointed feel, these scenes made sense in the larger context; and rather than detracting from the story, added rich layers to my reading experience.
I found myself coming to the end of the story wishing it wasn’t over. In this tale, I knew from the beginning what the outcome would likely be. Sometimes, that makes me want to put a book down, but Rowley’s rich descriptions, hilarious situations, and touching moments kept me engaged throughout the book as I experienced a range of emotions from amusement to deep sorrow to hope.
This is a book that made me think - about myself, my relationships, and the way I am living my life. It’s the kind of book that leaves me wanting to tell everyone I know to rush out and get it right away. You won’t be disappointed!