Throwback Thursday meme is hosted by Renee@It’s Book Talk and is a way to share some of your old favorites as well as sharing books that you want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on your TBR list while you continue to pile more titles on top of them. These older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. If you’d just link back to her @ It’s Book Talk she’d so appreciate it!
This week my Throwback Thursday pick is a book that I read around Christmas time last year, and it just touched my heart so deeply. I think I probably cried throughout most of the book unless I was laughing.
Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
Published June 7th 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Ted—a gay, single, struggling writer is stuck: unable to open himself up to intimacy except through the steadfast companionship of Lily, his elderly dachshund. When Lily’s health is compromised, Ted vows to save her by any means necessary. By turns hilarious and poignant, an adventure with spins into magic realism and beautifully evoked truths of loss and longing, Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.
This was just a wonderful but quirky and imaginative story about a man named Ted Flask who unconditionally loves his 12-year-old dachshund, Lily, and that love is returned by Lily just as unconditionally. In fact, Ted loves no one as much as he does Lily and that is at times very sad and poignant, especially when Ted discovers that Lily has what he calls an octopus on her head, which is, in fact, an inoperable tumor. Some readers might think it is a bit much how Ted talks out loud to both Lily and the octopus, and Lily “talks” to Ted but that didn’t bother me at all since I talk to both my dogs and my cat all the time and although I don’t imagine they are actually talking back to me (come on, I’m not crazy), I at least like to think I know what they are trying to tell me (maybe, not the cat since she is superior and a bit wild).
But I do know if I were Ted, I’d feel the same way towards the octopus, and I would want to talk and scream and get angry at it so nastily growing on my either of my dog’s heads and tell it to get off, leave them alone, and at least to attack me because I’m bigger, younger, and can handle it.
And, that is exactly how Ted feels in the book! He’s had Lily since she was the tiny runt of her litter, so he wants to fight the tumor, wrestle the octopus, and take away all of Lily’s pain because his love for her is simply beautiful. Ted has devoted his life to Lily, and she, like all dogs, has returned it a million times over without ever asking anything in return. At its heart, this is a story of a wonderful relationship, a friendship built out of pure, honest love. For anyone who loves or has loved a dog, this is a beautiful heart-wrenching story that will surely make you cry. You will laugh too because it is very often silly and ridiculous, but you will be thankful for the love you’ve shared with a beloved animal. I highly recommend this to anyone who can surrender their imagination to the fantasy in the book, enjoy the quirks, and let their heart open to the love and friendship between two best friends. But, bring lots of tissues because you’ll need them.