Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: Life of Pi

Life of Pi

Author: Yann Martel

Publication Date: August 29th, 2006

Publisher: Seal Books

Genre: YA/Contemporary/Adventure



Growing up in Pondicherry, India, Piscine Molitor Patel - known as Pi - has a rich life. Bookish by nature, young Pi acquires a broad knowledge of not only the great religious texts but of all literature, and has a great curiosity about how the world works. His family runs the local zoo, and he spends many of his days among goats, hippos, swans, and bears, developing his own theories about the nature of animals and how human nature conforms to it. Pi’s family life is quite happy, even though his brother picks on him and his parents aren’t quite sure how to accept his decision to simultaneously embrace and practise three religions - Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. But despite the lush and nurturing variety of Pi’s world, there are broad political changes afoot in India, and when Pi is sixteen, his parents decide that the family needs to escape to a better life. Choosing to move to Canada, they close the zoo, pack their belongings, and board a Japanese cargo ship called the Tsimtsum. Travelling with them are many of their animals, bound for zoos in North America. However, they have only just begun their journey when the ship sinks, taking the dreams of the Patel family down with it. Only Pi survives, cast adrift in a lifeboat with the unlikeliest oftravelling companions: a zebra, an orang-utan, a hyena, and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

My Thoughts: I wanted to read this book for a long time! But like most books I have on my massive TBR list, it waited and waited while I read tons of other great books as fast as I could. Then came the movie, so I had no more excuses. I had to read it so that I could watch the movie because that's a golden rule of mine. Books before movies - always.

It makes sense to me that opinions on this book would be all over the map. There is quite a large dose of religion all throughout the book and obviously that is not for everyone. But speaking as someone who isn't even remotely religious, I loved it. There is no harm in taking in other peoples beliefs, attempting to understand them and watching the world from a completely different point of view every now and then. In fact, I think it's pretty good for you. And that's exactly what this book did. It gave us such a unique, one in million view into life and all things within. I encourage that you go into this book with an open mind otherwise you may find it not to your liking or hard to envision the ideas behind the story.

And when I say unique views and opinions I really mean it because Pi happens to partake in three completely different religions. He is a Christian, as well Hindu and Islam. You may say that it isn't even possible to follow all three and even many people in the book said as much to him. But Pi does not feel the need to accept any one else's virtues. He creates his own and follows them boldly without influence from anyone else. So while I said this book is seriously enjoyable for even the non-religious of us, if you do happen to follow just about any religion I think you are going to love this book. As long as like I said before, you keep an open mind. Pi shows us the real meaning behind faith, and love and trust in a divine power. You may think your faith has been tested, but wait until you read the story Pi has to tell and how he perseveres and steadily believes in the higher power.

While it does revolve a lot around religion, it also a  story about survival, determination, the will to live and most of all courage. Pi spends 227 days lost at sea. I can't even begin to imagine such a feat. But I suppose that is what this book does for us. Follow his bravery, his strength and strong independence. Not only did he manage to keep himself alive, but a Bengal Tiger as well, imagine that! Or, just go read this book because Yann Martel has already done it for you. And he has done an incredible job.

This story is beautiful, mesmerizing, heart-felt, and emotional. I really don't think you will find another book like this one. I am so glad that I have finally read it. I fell so deeply in love with Pi and his story, which is ours to believe or not. You will see what I mean when you read the book for yourself. But let me just say that I believe, 100% I believe :).


  1. It's funny that you liked this book so much. I am a religious person, but I didn't like the book at all. Not because of the religious aspect (I actually enjoyed that part) but because I found it to be overly philosophical, long-winded, and disturbing. The violent parts were too graphic for me. It is a good book for a book club to read because there is a lot to discuss.

  2. I'm so glad you loved this one! I haven't read it in SUCH a long time, but I remember really loving it -- it really was all over the place, but in such a good way!

    Great review!


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