Book Review – The Soul of an Octopus


Soul of an Octopus    by Sy Montgomery

Who knew octopuses (yes, that’s the correct pluralization) have personalities? The author of Soul of an Octopus is a well-known naturalist who shows they do. She also seems to have fallen in love with several of them.

The book gives the reader a new and interesting perspective on another species––their intelligence, their abilities to feel and think, and their relationship with us and other animals. 

I enjoyed reading about octopuses so much, I searched YouTube for the topic and found a lot to see. I also found I like reading about them more than seeing them. Even so, I’m looking forward to the field trip my book group plans for November to the Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota, FL. We’ll see the friendly little monsters for ourselves. 

I wasn’t as engrossed with the non-fiction story as I would hope. Interaction with the octopuses held my interest, as did the chapters about diving, but the side stories about humans in the author’s acquaintance did not. 

Montgomery tries to draw correlations between our brain and the octopus’s; between the human soul and an octopus’s. It’s a thin argument––interesting, but not convincing. Even so, I recommend the book to get a peek into the murky world of ocean-dwelling creatures.  The idea of animals having a soul will be a good topic of conversation.

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