Audiobook Review - Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
Narrated by Michael Urie
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Date Read: June 20, 2017
Length:  8 hours 4 minutes
Source: Audible Purchase
Named to the American Library Association’s Reference & User Services (RUSA) Listen List!

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 this is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.

For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog.

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.

Remember the last book you told someone they had to read?

Lily and the Octopus is the next one.
My Review

Why is it that every dog book that I read leaves me in tears?  I am a huge dog lover so I am always drawn to this kind of book even though I know that I will be a mess before it is over.  But the journey is usually worth it in the end and this book was no exception.  So many things in this book reminded me of my own special dogs and I really enjoyed getting to know Lily and Ted.

My sweet Hershey
Lily is a dachshund and more importantly, Ted's best friend.  They have been through so many things together during their 12 years together.  They have a routine and enjoy their time together.  This story takes you through so many of their milestones with each other including Lily's adoption, Ted's relationships, and health issues.  I loved Lily and Ted's conversations with each other and could totally relate to them since I often converse with my own dog pack.

I spent most of this book being reminded of all of the dogs that I have been lucky enough to have in my life.  I grew up with my Tiger dog who turned out to be a wonderful dog that I still love immensely even though she has been gone for over 20 years.  As an adult, Hershey blessed my life.  I was able to have her for a best friend for 13 ½ amazing years.  She was a very intelligent Golden Retriever Rottweiler mix and the perfect member of our family.  She died in September 2015 and we still miss her so very much.  We currently have 3 dogs in our family.  Our Cookie is a Chow mix that is still going strong at 12 years of age.  We added two puppies to the mix in late 2015 and our Stella and Molly are still keeping me on my toes.

Michael Urie was a fantastic narrator for this story.  He did such a great job with both Ted and Lily's voices.  I have to say that they way he delivered Lily's lines were exactly how I would imagine my dogs would know, if they could talk.  This was an emotional story and he really captured all of that emotion.  I honestly don't know how he managed to deliver parts of this book without breaking down because I had tears streaming down my face just from listening to it.

There were some parts that I didn't care for as much.  Some of the parts involving the octopus just seemed to pull me out of the story.  I was always able to jump back in when the book switched gears but it would lose me a bit during those scenes.  That is really my only complaint regarding the book and it is really just that the book chose to go in a direction that I wouldn't have went.

I would highly recommend this book to others.  I do think that the audio is a fantastic way to experience this story and do recommend it.  I did make the mistake of listening to this book at work.  I quickly figured out that I had to stop and finish it at home or I would have been a blubbering mess at the office.  So choose your listening or reading place well...and bring tissues.  I would definitely read more from Steven Rowley in the future.
About the Author

Steven Rowley has worked as a freelance writer, newspaper columnist, and screenwriter. Originally from Portland, Maine, he is a graduate of Emerson College. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his boyfriend and their dog. Lily and the Octopus is his first novel. Follow him on social media @MrStevenRowley.

Author Links: Goodreads | Twitter


  1. I own a copy of this book and it's so pretty sitting on my shelves. I have put off reading it because I know it will make me cry but I've only heard good things about it. Thanks for sharing stories about your pups and Hershey is beautiful. Glad you liked this one so much!

  2. You know, I've never read a book where a dog had a major part. I've read stories with characters that had pets but that's about it. This one seems interesting. Sorry about Hershey. Sounds like she was an awesome friend. And thank for this nice review. I'm curious about the book now, in spite of the minor issue with the Octopus scenes.

  3. I enjoyed a story where a dog companion was the second narrator and bawled my eyes out so I totally get what you mean about that. :)

    This does sound worth the tissues.

  4. First time I have seen it around, hmmm, one would think I would have seen it somewhere

  5. I'm tearing up reading about your dogs. Hershey sounds like wonderful friend. Despite the octopus part not quite clicking this sounds wonderful and I suspect I will need tissues.

  6. Oh my gosh. I would be a mess over this one. These always tear me up so I avoid them. lol My mom though...she'll be all over this! I'll have to tell her about it tomorrow :D Thanks for the heads up!

  7. Sounds like a good emotional read. But I want to listen to the audio version as you suggest.

  8. I don't have my own pet, so I usually was impartial to pet books. But my host family I am with at the moment have three dogs and two cats and now I am in love. I wonder if books like this will affect me more now that I've fallen for my own pets as well?


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