Review: Remarkably Bright Creatures

Review: Remarkably Bright CreaturesTitle: Remarkably Bright Creatures
Author: Shelby Van Pelt
Genre(s): Contemporary
Pages: 360
Source: Library
For: Book Club
Sexual Content: 0.5 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

After Tova Sullivan works the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up, as a way to cope with her husband's recent passing and the disappearance of her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, over thirty years ago. She becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors--until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.

My Thoughts

My IRL book club chose to read REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES for our January book. I’m so glad we chose it. Otherwise, I might never have read it and I absolutely adored this book.

As soon as I started reading REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES, I could tell it was going to suck me right in. I laughed, I cried, and I mostly smiled as I read this heart-warming story of love, loss, grief, and resilience.

“Not my fault I was dealt a shitty hand.”
“No, the deal is never anyone’s fault. But you control the way you play.”

REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES is mostly told in a third-person limited POV and a charming first-person POV from Marcellus, the octopus, the star of the book. Marcellus is smart, snarky, a little bit cranky, and a delightful narrator. I especially loved his friendship with Tova, the main human character. Their friendship reminds us, not in a preachy way, that animals know more than they let on and they each have feelings and deserve our kindness and respect.

Besides Marcellus, I loved the cast of characters in REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES. Tova is such a likable person despite being a bit closed off because of her grief. She reminded me a bit of my own grandmother whose family, like Tova’s, immigrated to the US while she was very young.

When I finished REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES, I promptly rated it 5 stars on Goodreads. I’m still in awe that this is Van Pelt’s debut and I think her next book has a lot to live up to. I’ll keep a look out for it, though, and make sure it goes straight to the top of my TBR.

Have you read REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for loss of a parent, loss of a child, and loss of a spouse.

About Jenni Elyse

Hi, I'm Jenni. I’m an eclectic reader. I mostly read fiction and I favor fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, mystery, thrillers, and romance. The more kissing in a book the better!
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16 replies
  1. Roberta R.
    Roberta R. says:

    “Their friendship reminds us, not in a preachy way, that animals know more than they let on and they each have feelings and deserve our kindness and respect.”
    It accomplished a lot then!

    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      I’m normally not a huge fan of talking animals either. The way Van Pelt handled Marcellus was a little different and he quickly won me over. 😀 I hope you enjoy it when you read it.

    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      Yeah, I totally get that. I was worried I wouldn’t like it because I’m more of a romance and fantasy reader. I do like some books like this so I think that’s why it grabbed my attention so much. 😀


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