Book Review: An Octopus in my Ouzo
“It takes years to know for sure if you’re in a good relationship; but I didn’t have years to get pregnant.”
– Jennifer Barclay, An Octopus in my Ouzo
Life on the Tiny Greek Island of Tilos
I read An Octopus in my Ouzo; Loving Life on a Greek Island over the summer. At the time, I loved reading the author’s detailed descriptions of island life…the swims in the sea, the long walks through the countryside, the goats, the villages and local characters…the delicious Greek food!
Now that a couple of months have passed since I finished the book, what also stands out in my memory is the author’s personal story of coming to terms with not being able to have a baby. Although she is living (and loving) one of her dreams – living full-time on a Greek island – she is struggling to accept the fact that another dream – motherhood – likely won’t be happening.
I appreciated the honest and eloquent way in which the author shared her journey. It can be incredibly difficult to accept that we are not going to get everything we want – or think we want – in life. And yet to be able to step back and look at all that we do have in our lives, and be thankful for that, is essential.
The Seahorse Moment
There is a powerful scene near the beginning of the book that involves a seahorse. It hit me hard. I won’t divulge much detail in case you read the book yourself. But for me, the seahorse moment spoke volumes about the importance of speaking up for what we believe in…even if it is something as small as a seahorse. I was reminded of this quote:
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
For how often do we hold back on speaking our truth about the “little things” because we don’t want to get into a discussion…don’t want to rock the boat?
More often than we care to admit, I suspect. For maintaining harmony in a household and peace in personal relationships are equally worthy objectives. But the “little things,” in my experience, are not always so little. They may, in fact, be tips of icebergs.
I highly recommend reading An Octopus in my Ouzo. It will warm your heart, whet your appetite for scrumptious Greek food…and quite possibly inspire you to spend some time on a Greek island ?
My Connection to Jennifer
I have written about Jennifer Barclay before. I reviewed her delightful book, Falling in Honey; How a Tiny Greek Island Stole My Heart. And Jennifer was the original editor for my book, A Widow’s Awakening. Jennifer taught me how to write creative non-fiction. Sentence by sentence, she showed me how to transform a painful personal experience into an engaging story for the reader.
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.