One day, while arguing about cute guys with his dog Lily, Ted Flask notices that Lily has an octopus sitting on her head “like a birthday hat." This is not a nice octopus. This is a mean octopus, full of snark and spite. It is, in fact, a malignant octopus. It is hungry and hurting Lilly.
What follows this revelation is a pop culture infused examination of love and friendship, not just between a man and his best friend but also the true, pure, and perfect love that exists only between a dog and her special red ball. Ted rushes to save Lily, to defeat the octopus, to comfort and to care for his friend against all odds, and his quest leads these two brave companions (and an evil octopus) on a journey, a wild sea adventure and a magically realistic contemplation of aging, illness, and loss.
Elements of Steven Rowley’s semi-autobiographical fantasy are both strange and immediately recognizable. Lily is a dachshund who talks, plays board games, and quotes from the film, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, with scene-grabbing glee: “I too can command the wind, sir! I have a hurricane in me that will strip Spain bare if you dare try me! Let them come with the armies of hell; they will not pass,” the little dachshund proclaims, doing her best Cate Blanchett impression in her tiny dachshund voice. You may very well know, the way dachshunds do. Chances are good that anyone who has ever loved a dog will recognize Lily, whether or not their dog played monopoly, and they will root for her against the cephalopod growing unrelentingly atop of her head.