Friday, January 19, 2018

A Review of 'Life of Pi' by Yann Martel

Please note: this is a book I read in 2017.  Due to starting a new job, I kept up in reading but fell behind in blogging.  Reviews for 2018 reads will begin after the remaining 2017 reviews are posted.  Thank you for your patience!

"Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001.  The protagonist, Piscine Molitor 'Pi' Patel, a Tamil boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age.  He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker."

This book has been sitting on my shelf forever, so I wanted to read this in 2017.

The book started off alright.  I was drawn in by life living in a zoo and in a family whose job it was to take care of the animals.  I loved hearing the story about how Pi got his name.  It was a part of India that I have never read about before so that was also fascinating to me.  I also loved that this books explores spirituality how how it can play an active role in our lives.  As someone who has struggled with their spirituality since they were a pre-teen, this was a valuable experience for me to read about.  This is largely due to the fact that Pi is not just a blind follower to whatever religion he was born into (I believe his family is Hindu).  He is okay with exploring other religions, in his case Christianity and Islam.  One big misconception I have about religion and spirituality is that you have to pick one to follow and that's that.  But it's okay to explore and it's okay to take bits and pieces of other religions and spiritualities that help you live the life you're meant to be living.  It's very freeing for me to hear.

Tragic events befall Pi wherein he loses his family, most of the zoo animals, and so much more when the Tsimtsum, the ship helping him and his family emigrate to Canada, sinks unexpectedly and seemingly without reason, leaving him stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, left to fend for himself.  Suddenly, his days are reduced to fighting for his own survival and trying to make sense of all that happened to him.

There is a bit of a lull in the story as Pi focuses hardcore on basic survival: getting food, clean water, keeping things clean as much as one can in the middle of the ocean, staying sane, and feeding the tiger that has managed to survive this long on board the lifeboat that he and Pi now call home.  It was this focus on basic survival that really slowed down the story for me and why it took me so long to finish this book.  Once basic survival was fairly under wraps though, the book picked up a little bit.  Looking back now, I think this was a very immersive read.  As you go along, you're experiencing that struggle to engage your brain and stay active the way Pi struggles to stay engaged.  As soon as he latched onto something that kept his brain engaged, so did you.

Overall, even though there was a great lull in the story, this was a book that took you on a ride and demanded that you be part of Pi's story.

I give 'Life of Pi':
Thanks for Reading!


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