Book: Life of Pi – Author: Yann Martel
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Philosophical
Description from Amazon:
The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.
The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them “the truth.” After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional–but is it more true?
Well, this one was an odd one. It will be hard to review it without giving too many spoilers…but here goes.
I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. The main character, Pi, was fairly unconventional and I really enjoyed his viewpoint on religion. It was interesting hearing the perception of religion from someone who was so open to learning and experiencing every type he could get his hands on. I also enjoyed his wit. He had a way of tripping people up without being mean and I found myself laughing a lot more than expected.
The middle of the book is where I ran into trouble. I hate to say this about any book…but it was SO BORING. I know, I know, if I was actually stuck on a raft out in the middle of the ocean, I would be bored out of my mind there too. But I really feel like the length of this section was unnecessary. Especially for a book that most kids are given to read in school. I know that at any earlier than college age, I would never have finished this book.
Once past the worst of Pi’s journey, when he “lands” (no spoilers, I swear!), things got more interesting. Like, REALLY interesting. No, seriously, what was this part supposed to represent?!? And by the end of the book, I was completely back into the story. I especially like the extremely vague, extremely thought-provoking ending. (I chose to believe the first story, btw.)
This is a book that I would definitely recommend people read at least once. Though I had high hopes, since the premise of the book sounded so exciting, it will probably NOT become a favorite for me. Nonetheless, it was a very interesting read and one I think is worth a try.
Ishmael – Daniel Quinn
Kon-Tiki – Thor Heyerdahl