Natalie Funston reviews Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Lily and the Octopus is Steven Rowley’s debut novel. It is a sweet story of a man and his dog. Ted is a middle aged gay man and the most meaningful relationship in his life is the one he has with his dog. They have a regular routine indicated in the book’s opening lines –

It’s Thursday the first time I see it. I know that it’s Thursday because Thursdays are the nights my dog, Lily, and I set aside to talk about boys we think are cute. 

The “it” is a growth on Lily’s head, although Ted can’t bear to call it that and instead calls it the octopus, and the story revolves around the octopus while telling the story of Lily’s life with Ted. Lily is a delightful character who SPEAKS! IN! AN! EXCITED! WAY!
Lily and The Octopus looks at love, friendship, grief and being brave enough to make difficult decisions where loved ones are concerned. It is enjoyable even if you aren’t an animal lover because of that aspect. The opening lines of Lily and the Octopus made me giggle, and the rest of the book was almost as enjoyable. It does go a bit weird for a couple of chapters about two thirds of the way through. Do persevere, and have the tissues handy, as it soon becomes good again.