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Lily and the Octopus

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  38,564 ratings  ·  6,857 reviews
Combining the emotional depth of The Art of Racing in the Rain with the magical spirit of The Life of Pi, Lily and the Octopus is an epic adventure of the heart.

When you sit down with Lily and the Octopus, you will be taken on an unforgettable ride.

The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don’t want to spoil it by giving away too many details. We can tell you that th
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Simon Schuster
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Danielle I'd say she lives on forever...…moreI'd say she lives on forever...(less)
Jo-Ann Duff Haven't we all come home from work and spoken to our cat to ask if they want dinner, or if the dog wants to go for a walk? We all chat to our pets whe…moreHaven't we all come home from work and spoken to our cat to ask if they want dinner, or if the dog wants to go for a walk? We all chat to our pets when you think about it, and in our head we hear the answers.(less)

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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  38,564 ratings  ·  6,857 reviews

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Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best fiction AND debut author categories 2016!

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i added this book to my to-read list back when i heard about it, but it was one of those wobbly to-read intentions - the plan was to wait for it to be released and check out the reviews on here before committing one way or another. in general, books whose blurbs gush about how "moving" the story is and gleefully relate how many tissues you will need to get through it are not a selling point for me. book
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

I put off reading this book for some time. I would look over at the book in my stacks and say..not today. Because. I knew I was going to cry. And I cried and cried some more. (I added some pics of me and my dog)

This book is about Lily and Ted, they are best friends. She is his dog and I'm getting ready to cry again!!!! The love that Ted had for Lily is so very beautiful. I could feel all of the pain Ted had in the book. I could enjoy the happy
Jennifer Masterson
"Lily and the Octopus" was hysterical before it became sad! The audio version is as good as audio gets! Actor, Michael Urie, absolutely hit this out of the ballpark!!! People tell me they don't like audio, they tried audio a long time ago but it didn't work for them or they ask me what book is good on audio since I listen to so many of them. I'm here to tell you that THIS BOOK is 10 Star audio! If you want to give audio a try look no further. Michael Urie makes this story come to life!

So why 4 S
Here I go, bucking the flow of the majority opinion. Lily and the Octopus did not work for me. Quirky books are generally favourites of mine. I am a pile of mush over dog stories. But somehow this missed the mark badly -I am Not a fan. This is not a story about a dog. This book does not remotely resemble "The Art of Racing in the Rain", aside from the thin comparisons that a dog and people interact, and there are teary moments.

"Lily and the Octopus" is the story of a very self-absorbed man, his
Emily May
Jul 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
This is a very cute story about a man and his beloved dachshund. You probably already know what happens, as is the nature of these kinds of books, but it was far less cheesy than it might have been.

Rather than spending too long on emotional manipulation, the book focuses on Ted Flask - a lonely, middle-aged gay man who loves no one as much as his dog. It's this part of the story that really makes it a tearjerker. The - for want of a better word - pathetic nature of Ted's love is heart-wrenching
Elyse Walters
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Lily is nuzzled into my armpit as I lie on top of the covers in my own bed. She's radiating heat like the sun, but as long as she's comfortable I'm not going to move.
My sweat is cementing us together. I find the idea of adhesive, the idea of her being tethered to me, comforting".

Given so many people have read this book before me -- I'll try to add a few other things that I didn't read in other reviews --- other than, I really loved it as many other readers have too.

This book is sweet, lovabl
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book. This beautifully engaging, at times funny, at times sad book. READ IT. READ IT NOW..but buy tissues first.

Ted is chosen by Lily when he goes to a dog breeder. She is the runt that comes up to him. She is the dog that he has had for 12 years. A dog that he has funny, sweet and beautiful conversations with. Seriously, who hasn't had a pet and had a conversation with it? Animals are great listeners. They don't judge, they see us at our best and worst and love us anyway.

Ted is still reco
Diane Barnes
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
You can't say I wasn't warned. First of all, dog stories tend to have sad endings. Then on the first page you learn that Lily, the dachshund is 12 years old, 84 in people years. Again, not promising. Then Ted, the human, notices the octopus (tumor) on her head. So we have a 300 page novel about a 12 year old dog with cancer, how did I think it was going to end? Especially when I cried the first time on page 26?

Yes, I knew it would end badly, because dogs don't live as long as we do, and because
Mar 15, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This. Is. So. Painful.

Beautiful, terrifying, heartwarming and heartbreaking.

Lily and the Octopus has been one of the most difficult yet rewarding reads.

Those Memories... This Mourning... And the Madness that follows...

Why does life has to always have that painful component?

"Is it the promise of death that inspires life?"

This beautiful story teaches us that it so important to make memories, that there is no tomorrow but all we have is today, have many many 'terms of endearment' for your loved on
I don't really know how to rate this novel.

Spoilerish review.

I'm sure many will love this novel. I'm not sure I did. Actually, I know I didn't. I didn't hate it either. It was readable but I became tired of the forty-two year old Ted obsessing and waxing lyrically about his dachshund, Lily. Lily is twelve years old and at the end of her life. She's got a tumour on her head - the Octopus.

The majority of the novel is about Ted either reminiscing about Lily as a puppy, or talking about their munda
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I knew what the book was about, and that reading it would bring back painful memories.

But, when one review asked the question, "Remember the last book you told someone they had to read. Lily and the Octopus will be the next one", I had to read it!

This book is a wonderful tribute to the author's beloved dog, Lily.

If you have loved an animal companion, as much as (or more than!) a human, and have had to say goodbye.....you will be moved to tears.

But you will also smile and laugh along the way!
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

…. Sob, sigh, sob, sigh, sob… - me

I’ve had a copy of this book on my kindle for years, so long that I’m no longer sure how many, only that in a conversation years ago, my friend Elyse told me that I had to read it, that I would love it. And, I did, but I wish I’d known, my fault, more about the story, I would have at least bought stock in Kleenex. Or at least bought more boxes of it.

I’ve had dogs most of my life, with my two lying to my left while my cat,
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4.5 stars!

Unique! Quirky! Clever! Emotional!

This is one of the most unique and endearing books I’ve read in a long while. I fell head over heels for these characters — Lily, a dachshund and Ted, her owner. Ted and Lily have had ten wonderful years together before Ted notices a growth on Lily’s head that he names, the octopus. Shocked and devastated, Ted books Lily an appointment at the vet and reminisces about their relationship.

The witty banter between Lily and Ted had me giggling in every cha
Dec 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Just lately I have started to realise that I do not always care for magical realism, especially when it takes over what is otherwise a very enjoyable book. Consequently when the Octopus of the title started to take over this book I started to enjoy it less.
Anyway the book begins brilliantly and I enjoyed the little anecdotes about Lily as a pup and about Ted himself. Talking to the dog and having the dog answer was just part of the fun. All was going well and then the Octopus arrived. That was o
Ted Flask is a 42 year old writer who is recovering from a breakup with his longtime partner. He is lonely and isolated but his best friend Lily, a 12y old dachshund makes his life worth living. He and Lily share everything, good times and bad, pizza and monopoly nights, icecream and movies. When Ted discovers that Lily has an 'octopus' growing on her head he realises the time he has left with Lily may be cut all too short.

This is one for dog lovers and anyone who has had to part with an aging f
Oct 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-goal
I avoid “dog” books and for good reason— in no particular order— I’ve grown up with dogs, in my 30-plus-year marriage, we are on dog #9, leaky tear ducts, a knowledge that life isn’t complete without a furry, four-legged friend (felines are delightful too), and most importantly, I’m an easy mark for any stray and never met a dog book that didn’t make me cry (sad or happy tears).

My hubby took one look at the cover tonight and immediately asked with pity in his voice— why are you reading that?

Susan (aka Just My Op)
Anthropomorphism reigns supreme in this novel, which initially read like a memoir. Perhaps that's because it is apparently semi-autobiographical. Well, parts of it, anyway.

Anyone who has loved an animal can understand battling for that animal's life, whether the threat is in the form of a tumor or an octopus.

However, the whole octopus thing got old long before it got completely out of control. The protagonist waxes poetic about the octopus when I want to know what the vet said, what Ted is going
Friends, let me tell you right now, if you are a dog or an animal lover you are going to flat-out ugly cry over “Lily and the Octopus.”

I mean snot running down your face, inconsolable, nothing-will-ever-be-ok-again sobbing.

The other thing I will tell you is that you will be so, so glad you read it. It’s a beautiful work of literary fiction about the nature of life and love told with a lot of humor and sadness. As the description says, the joy of this particular book is in the reading of it. A su
Aug 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, library
My enjoyment a few weeks ago of The Guncle, led me to this book. But, having just lost my 14 ½ year old lab, I was worried this book might hit a little too close to home. Ted is a 42 year old man, still getting over his last relationship. Lily is his 12 year old Dachshund. The octopus is cancer, an ugly tumor on Lily’s head.
The book anthropomorphizes Lily, giving her a voice, which didn’t really work for me. And Michael Urie’s impression of what her voice should sound like really irritated me.
Cathrine ☯️
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Having raised 4 dachshunds myself I could not pass this one up. It’s a unique, funny, charming, quirky, defensive, obsessive, and problematic story, just like the breed itself. A fictional tail about a man named Ted and his beloved weiner dog Lily, but since the author really had a dog by that name, no doubt a lot of truth throughout the pages and a loving tribute to her.
If you’re not a dog lover, or take the Caesar Milan (all due respect) or the detached—It’s just a dog (no due respect) a
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
Rowley presents a heart-filled story about Lily the dachshund and her owner, Edward "Ted" Flask. As the novel opens, Flask introduces the reader to Lily and the 'octopus' that sits atop her head. This unwelcome cephalopod overtakes Flasks life as he ponders its intrusion into the daily joy he and Lily have created. There is also the undertone of necessary medical options to rid Lily of this most horrendous visitor. Flask switches between flashback moments that include all of his time with Lily a ...more
Betsy Robinson
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, funny, sad, charming, and, for anybody who's loved a dog, so achingly familiar it's hard to contain. The book, a love story, requires a surrender to imagination. There is a point where it goes from shallow imagination to deep ocean seas. You can fight it; the moment was so sudden that my first impulse was "No." But then I said "What the hey?" and dove. I recommend diving, swimming, and letting the waters do with you what they may.

Postscript: I've had three dogs in my adultho
Montzalee Wittmann
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley is a book the crushed me! I had my heart touched gently, soothed, then broken in multiple pieces! Listen with tissues handy! Lily is a little dog and loved by her human so much but she develops a tumor in her head...an "Octopus"! This is the story of Lily, her human, the octopus, and love! Beautifully written and narrated wonderfully by Michael Urie. He was just right for this book. A touching, clever, heartwarming and heartbreaking book of love and growth. ...more


The “me” of this command is Lily, a small, elderly (87 in people years, we’re told) Dachsund, Ted’s relentlessly loving, entertaining companion. Ted’s love for Lily is just as relentless. Even if it hurts. Even when it hurts.

Lily was the runt of her litter, and she chose Ted. He says he couldn’t tell all the brothers and sisters apart “tumbling over one another like noodles in a pot of boiling water. . . a pile of paws and tails.” But Lily, the runt, ambled over, ch
Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
You can read all of my reviews at Lit.Wit.Wine.Dine.

Lily and the Octopus opens on a Thursday evening. Ted knows it was a Thursday because that's the day he and Lilly, his beloved dachshund, reserve for talking about boys they think are cute. (They don't always agree but they do tend toward younger men.) He suddenly notices the octopus. On Lily's head. He's not sure how or when it came to reside there and he clearly feels some guilt over not having noticed it sooner. He, of course, understands wh
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Steven Rowley.. you made me laugh fiercely, you made me cry hysterically, you made me smile like a crazy person and ponder what is important in this life. You made me fall in love with you (or rather Ted) and with Lily. I am a dog person. I have had 3 great loves of my life and they were all dogs. I love how you (Ted) loved Lily. Thank you for this.

This book might be the best book I have read this year (and yes I said that about Britt
Peter Monn
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Omg! Sooooo good. I have not ugly cried in a book in a really long time. My full review will be up on my booktube channel at http://Youtube.com/peterlikesbooks ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
The octopus has a good grip and clings tightly over her eye. It takes me a minute, but I gather my nerve and poke it. It's harder than I would have imagined. Less like a water balloon, more like . . . bone. It feels subcutaneous, yet there it is, out in the open for all to see. I count its arms, turning Lily's head around to the back, and sure enough, there are eight. The octopus looks angry as much as out of place. Aggressive perhaps is a better word. Like it is announcing itself and w
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars - rounded up.

Have you ever loved an animal? Felt the unquestionable love and devotion of a dog? Looked into a pair of eyes, not human, and thought this is the "person" who understands me better than anyone else on earth? If you have, this is a book for you.

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I requested this book from my library, but I know I got more than I had anticipated. I felt the anguish of Ted in his struggle to save Lily from the octopus and in his own struggles to have a ge
I love Lily! And hate the Octopus. And Animal Surgical and Emergency Center (p. 252) is a real place. Been there. Many times.

Congratulations to author Steven Rowley on the success of his first book. I think he did an excellent job in telling story of Ted Flask and his delightful doxie, Lily. One of my favorite things about the story is how Lily's thoughts/voice are depicted...example how Lily describes her first taste of icecream: "THIS!IS!AMAZING!WE!MUST!HAVE!THIS!TO!LICK!EVERY!SINGLE!DAY!" (Th
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Steven Rowley is the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus, a Washington Post Notable Book of 2016, The Editor, named by NPR and Esquire Magazine as one of the Best Books of 2019, and The Guncle, a Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for 2021 Novel of the Year and semi-finalist for The Thurber Prize in American Humor. His fiction has been published in twenty languages. Rowley lives in Palm Sprin ...more

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