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  • Writer's pictureGaili Schoen


Happy Sunday book lovers! Everyone seems to love this book, including me. It would make a great vacation beachside read for men and women of all ages.

"We all lie to obtain what we need. The seahorse, who impersonates a strand of kelp. The blenny, who poses as a cleaner fish, biding its time to take a bite of its gracious host. Even my own ability to change colors, my camouflage, is a falsehood at its core.... Humans are the only species who subvert truth for their own entertainment. They call them jokes." - Marcellus, the Giant Pacific Octopus, Remarkably Bright Creatures

Seventy-year-old Tova is recently widowed and lives in Sowell Bay, Washington, in the house her father built. She works nights at the local public aquarium, spotlessly cleaning the tanks, and the statuary. She loves her job and loves all the sea creatures, especially Marcellus, the Giant Pacific Octopus. But Tova is laden with the pain of wondering what really happened to her cheerful, bright son Erik, who about 30 years ago at age 18 was found dead at the bottom of a lake, in what others presumed was a suicide.

"[Tova's friends] have always worn motherhood big and loud on their chests, but Tova keeps hers inside, sunk deep in her guts like an old bullet. Private."

Meanwhile, Cameron, who is forever in debt to the aunt who raised him and can't seem to hold onto a job or a girlfriend, decides to travel to Sowell Bay. He is searching for his long lost father whom he has never met, but has reason to believe is a wealthy real estate tycoon in the area.

When Tova sprains her ankle, Cameron takes over her job temporarily, and she introduces him to Marcellus, whom Cameron quickly realizes can open his own tank, travel across floors and unlock doors. Cameron calls Tova the Octopus Whisperer when he sees that Marcellus clearly seems to understand her words and is fond of wrapping his arms around her wrist.

Tova's and Cameron's lives become intertwined in ways that only Marcellus can predict, and together, the three of them seek to uncover the painful mysteries that bind them together.

Remarkably Bright Creatures, by Shelby Van Pelt is a wonderful story with characters we can't help but root for through all their blunders, oversights, and missed opportunities. There is grief, romance, good humor and a hefty dose of magical realism that will charm and entertain all. Recommended to fans of the authors Elizabeth Strout and Fredrik Bachman, and anyone who could use a lift and a smile. Hardcover 365 pages, Audiobook 11 hours, 16 minutes

I originally posted this review in Pam Lamp's wonderful blog, Who I Met Today. Check out today's fascinating interview with a nutritionist!

What are you reading? Any books on your TO BE READ pile for the summer? Leave a comment below! We love to talk about books!

Best, Gaili


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