I have seen this book around everywhere. It was one of those most read novels just so that you know what everyone is talking about.
Everyone was talking about a heart warming book about a man coming to terms with the death of his dog. The book is that - but only in part.
The book is divided into eight parts - get it an octopus has eight legs. Except the book is really just divided into three parts.
The first part is when a young lonely male notices that his best friend, Lily, has an octopus attached to her head. He goes about his life while struggling to deal with this development. This part of the story is heartwarming. I found it interesting to see how the author walked the line between reality and denying the situation through selective fantasy.
Then came the second part of the book. While reading the second part I knew there was going to be a catch, there is no way that there would not be a catch. The story wasn't written as true insanity. It is fairly evident that the narrator is not having a psychotic breakdown. Except that he is. There is no sense of reality in the second part of the story. This second of the story seemed to be more written because the publisher decided that the book needed to have more pages added. So this crazy part was developed. It was horrible and I felt destroyed the book.
I was honestly done after reading the second section. Only two things kept me going. The first was the excellent writing skills. Steven Rowley can put words together like the best of them. The second was the absolute certainty that the mess of the third second would end. It did end. The narrator gave up his fantasy world completely and went straight into reality. Given the middle second I do not think this was handled all that well. It didn't seem to fit. Had there been a different transition I think it would have done well. The third part of the book was emotionally powerful. I cried - even though I was so frustrated with the book I did not want to cry.
This is a hard book for me to know if I should recommend it or not. On one hand it is a well written emotional narration about the bond between a man and his dog. On the other hand it is a poorly played out fantasy world that just didn't mess with anything. If they had cut out the middle and just made the book shorter this book would have gone down as a great. However, they didn't.
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