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Manuscript Monday: The Soul of an Octopus

On this week's Manuscript Monday Meredith recommends 'The Soul of an Octopus' by Sy Montgomery.

This is a book about octopuses. And it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong: there is talk about octopuses throughout. But it’s more a book about friendship and the meaning of consciousness. In the book, the author Sy Montgomery befriends and grieves several octopuses she meets at the New England Aquarium, as well as some humans. She explores their emotional lives and individuality, while questioning what it means to be conscious and have a soul. While it is technically nature writing, it’s closer to a memoire.


I love octopuses (who doesn’t!?) and I share the author’s enthusiasm for them, which ironically made parts of this book slow for me. There was maybe too much human stuff for my taste. I really just wanted to hear more about octopuses! Still, it was fascinating to hear about the unique relationships of each cephalopod-human pairing to the extent that I still fantasize about having my own octopus friend that would give me an octopus hug.


For the record, I think it very unlikely to find myself in a situation when I could safely hug an octopus. Those little buddys are super strong and I’m pretty sure some could just rip my arms off.


The writing was at time overly romantic; however, I enjoyed the empathy with nature perspective and reading about an exceedingly fascinating animal (even if there was a lot of talk about humans). 

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