The author's passion for animals shows in that she tries to prove that the intelligent octopus creature has a soul. I thought the argument as a whole in the book weak. She does mention philosophers and different theories. They are spread throughout the book so none of it is overwhelming and she recognizes that to define a soul is really not possible; that some say it is an inner being that gives people senses and intelligence, others it gives life meaning and purpose. "Perhaps none of these definitions is true. Perhaps all of them are. But I am certain of one thing as I sit in my pew: If I have a soul-and I think I do-an octopus has a soul, too." Her stance is clear from the start, but she doesn't get into the different theories much. Maybe that is a good thing considering the target audience.
Her writing reminded me of "The Secret Garden" where Colin is so moved by nature that he is miraculously healed in his soul and stands up to recite the Doxology. The author is so moved by octopuses that her emotional descriptions show a passion that is deeply felt: "Perhaps, I muse, this is the pace at which the Creator thinks, in the weighty, graceful, liquid manner-like blood flows, not like synapses fire." She has terrific writing with plenty of similes and metaphors to help readers picture the creatures and their environment in the aquarium or wild.
The book does explain mating and covers the loss of beloved animals either as pets or from an aquarium's caretaker's perspective. I learned more about scuba diving than I expected and she describes the tight friendship she developed from working at the aquarium and diving. These friendships add a human element that is a nice balance to the scientific narrative. I did not know anything about octopuses before reading this book and a knowledgeable reader might have a completely different reading experience than me.