Review: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi

Yann Martel

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.

Thus begins Pi Patel’s epic, 227-day voyage across the Pacific, and the powerful story of faith and survival at the heart of Life of Pi. Worn and scared, oscillating between hope and despair, Pi is witness to the playing out of the food chain, quite aware of his new position within it. When only the tiger is left of the seafaring menagerie, Pi realizes that his survival depends on his ability to assert his own will, and sets upon a grand and ordered scheme to keep from being Richard Parker’s next meal.

My Thoughts: So I heard this was a good book. Is it ever. I wasn’t completely in love with it, I didn’t have that feeling that if I wasn’t reading I was wasting precious reading time. No, but I did pick it up every chance I got. I just had to know this crazy story about someone who could survive for so long on a lifeboat with a tiger. I freaking love Richard Parker, as I’m sure many other people have. Tigers are possibly my most favourite of animals. They are just so beautiful. They command respect and Pi is just lucky he knows about them.

Life of Pi is an epic story of survival that I feel everyone should read at some point in their lives. I know I waited too long to read it and only got around to reading it now because I’m dying to watch the movie. You can expect a Fiction to Film on it in the future. The movie just looks so awesome that I needed to read the book now, rather than waiting to get to is on my list of books that I’m reading. I can see why they made  a movie about the book. The story is just amazing. There are some parts that had me cringing and others that had me laughing. Pi was clearly in shock when he calls Richard Parker to the life boat, but it’s an act that ultimately saves his life.

I still have a hard time of remembering that Pi is supposed to be a 16 year old boy. He seems so much older, which makes sense because he had to be to survive. I can only imagine the suffering that he went through during his time at sea. He lost everything and then to have to go through this trial? Insane.

This book is the only thing I’ve read by Yann Martel, but I will be considering reading more by him in the future. There are pretty heavy religious themes throughout the book, which didn’t really bother me all that much. I also  found the beginning of the book a bit slow, but I think that was because I wanted to get to the part where the ship sank. That’s really where the major part of the story starts, the part that hooked me in and kept me reading.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and will be recommending it highly to many in the future I’m sure. It shows how far someone can go to survive (some of the things Pi has to do aren’t the most pleasant). It’s truly a book you all should read. Give it a try if you haven’t already!

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7 thoughts on “Review: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

  1. Pingback: Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge (3) | A Glo-Worm Reads

  2. I’m so happy you loved this one! It’s been so long since I’ve read it, but I remember really loving it when I first read it. I think I’m due for a reread soon! I can’t wait to see the movie … I hear it’s absolutely beautiful!

  3. Oh yes! Go see the movie! I read the book like five years ago, and really enjoyed it. I bought it at some bargain bookstore and wasn’t expecting much from it, but had seen good things about it online, and fell in love. And the movie is just as magical as the story. I think for those who I went with to the movie, who hadn’t already read the book, it was a bit much to take in, but I thought it was a good adaptation and true to the story (from what I could remember). Plus, it was my first time seeing a 3D movie without getting a horrific headache.
    Okay, I need to go to bed now so I’ll stop posting all over your blog, but glad you enjoyed the book and I look forward to see what you think of the movie! (Especially since it’ll be fresher in your mind than it was for me.)

    • I watched the movie last night and loved it! There is still only one thing that really bothers me about both the book and the movie though. ***Spoilery for anyone reading this who hasn’t read/watched it!!*** The Japanese business men don’t believe him that there was a tiger on the boat, but how hard would it have been to look in the boat for proof. They had said they’d already seen it, but if a tiger lived on it for 227 days, there would have to be some sign of him. Clearly I thought too much about it. I know the point is you’re supposed to believe whichever story you want, but that one thing drove me crazy at the end.

      I need to go to bed too, thanks for posting though! I love getting comments 🙂

      • That’s true. There’d obviously be a bunch of claw marks from him being flung around all over. And maybe some droppings? (Ew.)
        Of course, like you said if they showed them actually checking the boat it might ruin the “Choose your own ending” bit. Even though the people I went with didn’t like that because they were so split on what to believe!

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