Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt is a fantastic debut novel of modern day fiction, that’s is really something special. The uniqueness of the story is we get the perspective of an octopus, Marcellus, that is one of the smartest characters and has a unique perspective on life behind it’s inch of glass it desperately wants to escape from. Parts of this book reminded me of Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White how Marcellus subtly nudges the humans to connect and appreciate life. Other parts reminded me of Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton where a head strong older woman help show a young man what family is all about. The Vibe for the story was A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. We get three character’s perspectives Tova, an older widow is grieving the loss of her young son 30 years before, gets a job cleaning the aquarium, Cameron is a man looking for his father and the replacement aquarium cleaner when Tova retires, and Marcellus the Pacific octopus that has been behind glass most of his life has found a way to escape his tank at night but really wants to escape before he dies. The pacing of this novel is pretty fast it slows down at the important parts and we get a bit of humor when Marcellus gives his thoughts on life and humans. I do love the Marcellus chapters the best. This is a book I’ve been seeing around and thought I would give it a chance and man was I blown away this book can not get hyped enough, one of my top 5 reads of this year. I was emotionally hooked in by these characters pretty early Cameron took the longest but I got there.

Plot Summary: Tova Sullivan work at her towns aquarium in the state of Washington along the bay. Tova lost her son 30 years earlier and still dealing with the pain as he worked at the aquarium when he died. Tova likes working and talking to the fish even all her friends say she should quit and retire. But Tova loves it too much most recently she has befriended Marcellus the octopus when caught him out of his glass in the hallway trash snacking on fries, when he got caught up in chord she untangles him and doesn’t rat out that he can get out to the director. Tova curious on how he get out grabs a tool to see and connects hand to tentacle, the moment is ruined when the stool breaks and she injures her foot and can’t work for 8 weeks. Cameron is young man searching for who he is, he never knew his father and his mother left him when he was young, he finds a clue to who his father is from her mother’s small hometown in Washington. he spends every dime he has to get here and can’t get a meeting with his potential stranger and meets a member of the town who helps him get hired at the aquarium as the cleaning temp. Marcellus see something in the young man that will change everything for him if he can only understand.

What I Liked: The way the story wrapped up it didn’t feel forced it felt right. I don’t like story that go for the implausible to wrap things into a bow, but this story felt right to way it was wrapped up tying most of the loose ends. Marcellus point of view on life was so good. I liked the way the story was told and all the perspectives. I like that I was invested in the story and the characters. The story was very heart warming and hit on all notes. I love the community aspect of the story, I want to live there. The town grocer was so funny with his gossip and love for Tova, but such a good hearted person.

What I Disliked: There’s a good twist that the story has, but Marcellus figures it out and tells the reader way too soon, I thought. I need a little more figure out time to put it all together. I liked how it all worked out but it was way too soon for that reveal.

Recommendation: I loved this book everyone needs to check it out. The only warning is some light swearing, but a very wholesome book with a heartwarming ending. This is a fantastic debut and Shelby Van Pelt is and author to look out for. I ranked Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt 5 out of 5 stars.


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