Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

“Secrets are everywhere. Some humans are crammed full of them. How do they not explode? It seems to be a hallmark of the human species: abysmal communication skills.”

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

A few years ago, I read The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery, which was an amazing non fiction book about octopi. Ever since, I have loved learning more about how smart, brilliant and wonderful an octupus is. They really are remarkable creatures.

Remarkably Bright Creatures follows three main characters: Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus nearing the end of his life at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, Tova, a woman who lost her son over 30 years ago and her husband recently who cleans the aquarium, and Cameron, a young man trying to figure out his life and where he fits into the world. 

Marcellus spends most of his time escaping from his tank after hours, mainly to get better food. The food he gets every day is boring, and why should the dumb sharks get better food than him?

But Marcellus has made friends with Tova, who is the only one who cleans the outside of his tank properly. He knows secrets about Tova. And one night, Tova walks into the aquarium break room to find Marcellus stuck after he tried to eat some of the leftover chinese food in the garbage. She saves him, returning him to his tank and visits him after every night, greeting him arm to tentacle. These visits continue until Tova injures her ankle and has to take time off work. 

The Sowell Bay Aquarium hires Cameron as a replacement. Cameron is in Sowell Bay Aquarium trying to hunt down a real estate tycoon he thinks might be his father. While waiting for the man to make time to meet him, he takes a job at the aquarium, filling in for Tova and doing other maintenance around the aquarium. 

Tova can’t stay away from the aquarium or her friend Marcellus, and she and Cameron eventually strike up a friendship. 

This book is beautiful. After reading Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, I honestly wasn’t looking for another emotional read. But that’s exactly what I got. Remarkably Bright Creatures had me full on sobbing with its brilliance. It is such an amazing novel, and I can’t recommend it enough. Getting the different point of views from Marcellus, Tova and Cameron was wonderful. I loved an octopus main character. Marcellus is definitely one of my favorite snarky characters ever. 

I hope if you find this book, it brings you joy. It brought me a story I will always cherish. 

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