The Soul of an Octopus ~ Sy Montgomery

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness

Rating: 4.5/5

Montgomery has a way with words that shines in this story. She is clearly in love with octopuses, and has a plethora of knowledge about what makes them tick that she has gathered from her own observations and from her talks with aquarium staff and other professionals.

This is a book mostly about octopus, and I was not disappointed in that regard. In addition to learning more about octopuses, Montgomery reveals intimate details of the friendships she makes with those who also care so immensely about the octopuses, and those insights seem just as relevant to me as the information about the octopuses themselves.

There are three main octopus in this story, Octavia, Kali, and Karma. I was fascinated learning about how octopus change their skin color and texture, can swivel their eyes and funnels all around their mantle (body/head), and how their arms can multitask x8! There really is so much to be learned about these glorious creatures, and Montgomery definitely got me interested. I can see why she would be so passionate.

Montgomery’s arguments are that octopuses have consciousness that is very much a part of their decision making in different ways than humans. In arguing this, Montgomery does anthropomorphize to some extent, and uses very charged language (emotional vocabulary) to convey her message. This was all fine with me, but I would take a step back periodically and remind myself that many of her arguments are merely her interpretations and not factual data. I can also see how her writing style could rub some the wrong way. It’s very narrative, which I appreciate.

I was surprised I enjoyed this book so much! I had heard that many people did not enjoy this, and went into it a little less than optimistically.

3 thoughts on “The Soul of an Octopus ~ Sy Montgomery

  1. Great review! I think many people were a little disappointed (myself included) because we came to this book through the article that it began with, which was fantastic. The book was really good but it didn’t quite live up to what I expected after the article, I guess. Still, I learned SO much from it and I’ll never look at an octopus the same again! So fascinating.


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