After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.

Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors–until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.

Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late.

Audiobook Review

4 solid stars

I had seen many raving about that book so I couldn’t wait to read it.

It was a very good story but I think I had my expectations set too high, hence the four stars.

That story is built on great and flawed characters.

Well Tova is nearly flawless, save for her stubborn refusal to accept help from her friends because she does not want to bother them.

She is now 70 and has lived through enough tragedy, beginning by the loss of her 18 years old son Erik and followed many years later, by her husband’s death from cancer.

Yet Tova goes to clean the aquarium every day and begins conversations with Marcellus the giant octopus.

You could say that Marcellus felt like a therapist doubled with an odd friend for Tova.

Parallel to Tova’s life, we follow Cameron’s story.

Cameron is thirty years old and even if he is incredibly smart, he is a kind of a loser. His mom abandoned him when he was nine years old, leaving him with her aunt Jean.

Now years later, Cameron is adrift, always fired from every job with no high school diploma.

An old photo and a school ring discovered in her mom’s junk  will have him go to Washington in search of his potential father.

He too will cross Marcellus’s path and will stay for some time in Tova’s town, beginning his journey to grow up and make peace with his past.

I confess that for as much as I loved Tova right away, I have needed time to love Cameron. Losers are not very appealing in my eyes and at the beginning of the story, he didn’t really own his mistakes. It always was someone or something else’s fault. But that’s also the beauty of this story as we witnessed a true character growth!

I don’t know if the facts about octopuses are true but I’ll go check them because if indeed nothing is exaggerated then they are truly remarkable creatures!

That book was full of heart, bittersweet, a mix of mystery this was a story of friendship, love, loss, and connection.

Thanks for reading!


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  1. I’ve been nervous to read this one because there’s so much hype. I’m planning to read it next month so I think I’ll lower my expectations going in and will hopefully be pleasantly surprised that way, haha.

  2. This is the first time of me seeing this book and it sounds fascinating! I’m sorry your expectations were too high, I hate when I do that to myself ack, but I’m so glad you found so much to enjoy in this story. And ohhhh I love when characters grow from that first page to the last, yay!

  3. I don’t know if the facts about octopuses are real since I haven’t read the book but I do know that octopuses are insanely clever creatures so it wouldn’t surprise me!