Rowley, Steven. “Lily and the Octopus”, Simon & Schuster , 2016.
Living and Loving Fiercely
I am a pet lover so naturally a book about a gay man and his dog appeals to me but, I must say, I was not prepared to have the adventure that I did with Steven Rowley’s “Lily and the Octopus”. It reminds us how it feels to love totally, how hard it can be to let go and that we are willing to fight hard for what we love.
Ted Flask is single and unhappy single in Los Angeles. His dachshund has become the love of his life and she is always there for him as he negotiates therapy and dates with guys he meets at online dating sights. Teddy is able to communicate with Lily and they debate good-looking men and even play board games together. There is just one problem and it is the “octopus” attached to Lily’s head and we learn that it is a metaphor for Lily’s lethal cranial tumor that is sapping her life. The octopus is the reason for Lily’s frequent seizures that point to the limits of her life. This is truly an emotional read that makes us cry and laugh sometimes simultaneously.
One day, Ted discovers that an octopus (tumor) is present on Lily’s head and Ted knows that it is trying to take his beloved pet. Ted, however, is not going to let Lily go without a fight. We go through
Lily’s decline in health and Ted’s journey to fight the octopus. He goes through an emotional and sometimes insane journey to finally accept that the Octopus may win.Lily talks to Ted, and so does the octopus. Ted would do anything he could to defeat the octopus.
Ted, is a man struggling with the loneliness and heartbreak of everyday existence and his struggles made me contemplate my own. This is a very honest look at a man who also represents much of what we see in ourselves. It is impossible not to
commiserate with his predicament. I really felt the way Ted and Lily loved each other; I have had my Jack Russell “terrorist”, Sophie, for eleven years and cannot imagine what it will be like once she is gone. She is the family member who forgives me in an instant and who shows utter devotion, always being there for me.