Back at it again with another book review!
Greetings all! Today I will be reviewing Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley, which came out on June 7th of this year. I received it for free from a Goodreads Giveaway, and providing an honest review was encouraged. Most of what is written here was initially posted as a Goodreads review, but I’m adding a (very) few thoughts as well. I entered this giveaway not knowing a whole lot about the book, except that it sounded interesting.
It is hard to review this book because so much of it can be considered a spoiler. I can tell you that for most of my reading experience with this book, I was wholly confused. I understood what was happening, for the most part, but I didn’t understand why (much like you may feel reading this review). I could not connect with the main character, Ted, for most of the book, and had a lot of problems with his family and friends for much of the book because of things I felt they left him get away with. At the end of the book, I realized that the people in his support network were simply seeing him as a whole person going through a tough time, while I could only see him the way that he presented himself -which, to me, was EXTREMELY 2-dimensional. I think that the author, in trying to show how important the central topic of the book is to Ted, made him seem very flat and not relatable. For most of the book, I thought he was mentally ill, and I’m still not entirely sure that he isn’t, but it was not at all addressed. I would have no problem with a mentally ill character, but the lack of discussion around this makes me think that this wasn’t the case. If it were, it probably would have lent itself to a more dynamic and complex story, but again, I think Ted just wasn’t written well.
In terms of the story itself, there were parts of this book where I laughed, parts where I cried, and parts where I wanted to throw something at the wall (I did not entirely rule out having that “something” be this book). The last 50 pages of this book redeemed it for me, and helped me to make sense of what I had read. I think much like with many of life’s truest emotions, coming out the end gave me the perspective I needed to understand and appreciate everything that this book had taken me through.
I don’t know that I would widely recommend this book, because I don’t think it’s for everyone. However, I think I would be able to recognize a soul who needs this journey, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to those folks at all.
I gave the book 3 stars because I had high and low points with it, but I do think that it has given me a lot to think about and to try to understand, so I’ll always be grateful that I read it.
Thanks for reading! If you’ve read this book (or want to), let me know your thoughts. Catch you all in the next one!