Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

If you have ever loved a dog, chances are you will love this book.  I know I shed lots of eye rain (Lily's name for tears) at the touching and affecting way this story of the unconditional love we have for our dogs is told.  Emotional, and heart-felt, it will pack a wallop when it comes to life lessons as well.

"Because dogs live in the present.  Because dogs don't hold grudges.  Because dogs let go of all their anger daily, hourly, and never let it fester.  They absolve and forgive with each passing minute. Every turn of a corner is the opportunity for a clean slate.  Every bounce of a ball brings joy and the promise of a fresh chase."

Ted Flask is an aging writer, who is lonely and isolated, except for his aging Dachshund, Lily.  He and Lily share everything.  Rowley's descriptions of the relationship are quite funny and Lily will capture your heart in the telling.  One day, however, he notices a growth (or tumor) on her head that he refers to as the Octopus.  Faced with the prospect of losing her, he digs in to fight--which means dealing with existential questions like, is it the promise of death that inspires life, so that we grab what we can while there is  still time? Or is it the not knowing if today is the day it ends that keeps us going? And if it is the end, how do you breathe? How do you go on?

Intelligently written, with fine observations, and just utterly charming.  A tribute to love and what we sacrifice for those we love...human and animal.

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