Diane Barnes's Reviews > Lily and the Octopus

Lily and the Octopus by Steven  Rowley
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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 we give our hearts to our pets, and they return that love a thousand times without asking for anything in return. And Ted, the human, had issues, like a psychotherapist named Jenny who was incompetent, and a broken relationship with a boyfriend, and a mother who didn't love him enough (according to him). But he had a really great best friend, and a really great sister, and Lily, the dachshund. He also had a great sense of humor, and a unique way of looking at the world, when he wasn't trying to hide from it.

I read this book even knowing I would cry at the end, for the same reason we have dogs in the first place: Because the journey is worth the pain at the finish line.
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Reading Progress

April 20, 2016 – Shelved
April 20, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
May 15, 2016 – Started Reading
May 17, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)

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message 1: by Vessey (new)

Vessey Diane, this review touched me so deeply. Especially your conclusion.

"I read this book even knowing I would cry at the end, for the same reason we have dogs in the first place: Because the journey is worth the pain at the finish line."

I have a dog and I have beel living with the pain and fear of what I know is going to happen eventually (now even more so, because she's not young anymore, she's 7), yet, I have never even once felt sorry for having her. All the pain in the end will be worth it, because she's amazing. Thank you! :)


Cathrine ☯️ I have lost 2 dachshunds and I have 2 to go. I don't know if I can read this but I loved your review.


Diane Barnes My husband and I met when I was a Veterinary Technician and his dachshund had to have back surgery. We had Pookie until she was 19, and countless other dogs since then, all of them one-of-a-kind. We have 2 labs right now. I'll never be without a dog for companionship, even though it's always going to end badly. They are worth every tear.


message 4: by Howard (new)

Howard Well-meaning relatives used to say that since I lived alone I needed a dog (to provide me with company, I suppose, in order to counteract certain reclusive tendencies on my part, which I refer to as blessed solitude). My response was that instead I was going to adopt a child because he/she would be less trouble. You can take a child with you, but that isn't always the case with a dog. I knew that to be a fact, because I had been a dog owner in the past (one lived almost 20 years).

But then five years ago I rescued three Beagle mixed-breed puppies that had taken refuge in a drainage ditch where they had been ditched by some heartless soul, in an area that dogs have to be kept penned up in order to escape being killed by coyotes or shot by deer hunters.

The rest, as they say, is history. But at least relatives no longer tell me that I need a dog; they are more apt to ask me why I have so many dogs. I tell them that I couldn't tolerate the solitude.

I have to go now. I'm on my way to the vet to buy the special food that Pinnie requires to combat her urinary difficulties. On the way home, I will stop and purchase the distilled water that she requires for the same reason.

BTW, Diane, I really liked your review.


Diane Barnes Thanks, Howard. The beauty of dogs is that you can have companionship and solitude at the same time. Unlike well-meaning relatives, they keep their thoughts to themselves.


Doug H - On Hiatus I never met a dog I didn't like.


Diane Diane, I LOVE your review! Well said from beginning to end! I just finished this Friday evening.


Jennifer Masterson Great review, Diane! :)


Jo-Ann Duff (Duffy The Writer) Lovely review!


message 10: by Kristin (last edited Jul 26, 2016 08:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kristin This was a truly lovely review and, having recently read Lily and the Octopus myself, I wholeheartedly agree with it. Your last line was especially touching and I hope you don't mind that I quoted it (with credit to you) in my own review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Really loved this book.


Diane Barnes Thanks Kristen, loved your review. I know several people who refuse to read this book because of their fear of the ending, but they just don't know what they're missing.


message 12: by Sara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara You have written the perfect review of this lovely book. I went into it blind, but it didn't take more than one chapter to know where it was going. Knowing didn't take one iota away from the journey. Your final line says it all!


Diane Barnes Thank you, Sara. It really was a wonderful book.


Diane I love your review, Diane! It was a wonderful book, I agree. By the way, the author is an adopter from the animal rescue where I volunteer in Los Angeles, The Lange Foundation!


message 15: by Dena (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dena Thanks... so glad I know what I am getting into! The sleeve on the audio book does not give enough info... Oddly, I am going to start the book tomorrow and just last month found out my dog has cancer. ON A GOOD NOTE, we caught it early and he should be fine, but, I know I will probably sob anyway, because I am a sucker for animals and almost regret when anything "sad" is thrown in the story about them. (sidebar- I could find out I, personally have cancer, and not be so emotional as when I found out about my dog. Yea, I am a weirdo.)


Diane Dena I completely get everything you say. I wish you the very best with your pup so glad you caught it early. I am sure he will be fine!


message 17: by Dena (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dena Diane wrote: "Dena I completely get everything you say. I wish you the very best with your pup so glad you caught it early. I am sure he will be fine!"

wish I could post latest pic of him, (crap computer day) but he is the Husky in my profile pic who I am squeezing to death. haha. That was taken years ago, but he still looks the same , and I am certain, short of him running into traffic, he will have another 5-8 years with me! Thanks Diane!


Diane Adorable. I love huskies.


Elyse  Walters Diane --your reviews 'alway's touch me. I just read this book --and I read your review ---and you say the most wonderful things. Didn't you love Ted's sister? -- and even when his mother (on the phone) --was sending a check to cover medical costs of Lily -- I was touched that there 'were' people who cared for Ted. I felt for 'both' of them so much. -- Thanks for your reviews Diane-- they make me feel so good.


Diane Barnes Thank you, Elyse. It is easy to write a moving review when a book touches you so deeply. Yes, I did love his sister, and his mother.


Elyse  Walters A wonderful book... still thinking about it... and my daughter just came home... Her little dog, Lunchbox had been sick, and is doing 'much' better!! So happy...
but one of our birds died yesterday-- Phil. We had him for at least 15 years.. sweet little guy.
These stories are just so heart touching.
Happy weekend to you Diane.


message 22: by Lynne (new) - added it

Lynne Love your last line !!


Fiona What a beautiful review, Diane. My eyes were welling at the thought of reading this.


Shirley Great review! Thank you!


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