Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I say that without hesitation and highly recommend you read it.
I’m including a second picture because I couldn’t decide which was cuter. Plus that cover art is just great.
The book is mostly about grief and loss. Rowley perfectly captures how deeply you can love a pet and how it feels to lose them (spoiler alert: it’s freaking awful). This book broke my heart and put it back together at the same time. I can’t even explain how beautiful and heartbreaking it was.
While it was sad, it was also a fun romp through life with a dog in some places. He depicts in a delightful way how all dogs have their own unique personalities and individual quirks. He fully commits to giving Lily her own personality, and she even speaks throughout the story. I loved that. While dogs are individuals, they also share some things, and Rowley included some statements about that too:
“By then I had all but given up trying to outstubborn a dachshund, an exercise in futility if there ever was one.” Preach, Rowley, preach.
“We shared the rest of that ice cream cone, for I am a god.” (This one is about how dogs view people.)
There were a few quotes about 75% of the way through the book that were about how good dogs are, but my eyes were raining too much to write them down. Check them out for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
So just for fun, the dog in the picture with the book is actually my grandma’s dog, Toby, who is being nice enough to pose for my blog and Instagram and beg for my food and cuddle up while I read and bark in the middle of the night to scare me awake while I’m away from my own short friends. Toby is an overly enthusiastic greeter and sleeps on his back, and I call him Tuba or Tooby. These two are my fur babies.
Poss is the black one. He’s blind and reminds me of Eeyore, and I call him Possum, Big Dog, Old Buddy, etc. Frank is the red one. He’s spunky and doesn’t understand how to howl, and I call him Frankenstein, Frankberry, Short Dog, Small Dog, etc. Rowley’s book taught me that apparently everyone has long lists of nicknames for their fur children.
Inside the dust jacket, it says, “Remember the last book you told someone they had to read? Lily and the Octopus is the next one.” It’s not an exaggeration.