Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet" and "Endangered Edens."

This book will make you care about something you never thought you’d care about.

The Soul of an Octopus

Many years ago, when I was researching my first book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet, I read Sy Montgomery’s Journey of the Pink Dolphins. I loved that book but hadn’t gotten around to reading another one of her books until now.

When I first started reading The Soul of an Octopus I couldn’t put it down. I’m an animal lover and a wildlife author, yet I hadn’t given octopuses much thought. For the first half of the book I was a sponge—eagerly soaking up all the fascinating information and truly identifying with Montgomery’s passion for octopuses.

Then, when the book focused more on Montgomery’s relationships with the people who worked/volunteered at the New England Aquarium (and a little on her spiritual beliefs), I have to admit that the story dragged a bit for me. Even so, I don’t know what else she could have done and stuck with the book’s concept. It would have been virtually impossible to write a book-length manuscript with nothing but page after page of “Wow! I didn’t know that about octopuses!”

If this was a novel, I’d be a little more critical about the pages that didn’t grab me or felt like they were filler. The pages where my interest wavered were still well-written. And who is to say that other readers wouldn’t relate to those pages more than I did?

So, for me, I have to look at the big picture: am I glad I devoted the time to read this book? The answer is most definitely yes! I will never see octopuses the same again, and the next time I’m near an ocean or a commercial aquarium seeing an octopus will be foremost on my mind.

That is the biggest accomplishment of Sy Montgomery’s book. Before starting, most readers will wonder, “Why would I possibly care about octopuses?” Then, once they finish, those same readers will wonder, “Why wasn’t I passionate about octopuses before?

 

 

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