March 1, 2010

Life of Pi: A Review

I get really annoyed when people bug me over and over to read a book. I guess it goes back to my personal issues with authority. I apparently not only hate being told what to do I even hate getting forceful recommendations. Life of Pi by Yann Martel was given to me about a year ago and I was subsequently bugged about reading it monthly since. One of the reasons it took so long to read it is that it wasn’t sold very well to me. Now that I’m making myself write about it I’m realizing why, it’s a difficult book to describe. I thought it was a book about math to be honest.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part is about Pi Patel’s childhood in India and his religious/spiritual development. Somehow he manages to become Hindu, Muslim and Christian all at once. I’m fascinated with religion so I enjoyed the first part of the book immensely. It also provides a few lessons on the silliness of religious conflict. If one young kid can reconcile being Christian, Muslim and Hindu simultaneously why are we getting into silly religious wars?

The second part of the book consists of our hero Pi being shipwrecked and floating across the Pacific ocean in a lifeboat - with a Royal Bengal Tiger. I’m not making this up. It is an amazing tale of survival by a kid that is just too stubborn to die. Once I got to this point of the book I only put it down to eat and use the bathroom. It was gut-wrenching, riveting and life-affirming. The third part of the book I won’t spoil for you but I will say it really left me bewildered - in a good way. After reading the book I realized why I’d been prodded for a year to read it, it’s really good.
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Image taken from: http://www.thepicky.com/images/2008/02/bengal_tiger.jpg

13 comments:

  1. Ohh I've heard of this book!! I didn't know that was what it was about. I might be confusing it with the movie called Pi. I'm curious about the tiger. I might put this on my list.

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  2. I know that feeling so well! I put off reading books recommended to me all the time. But I find if I read them when they've been suggested, they lose all their 'magic'.

    I must put this on my reading list.

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  3. Haven't read this yet although it's been recommended by friends. Had just one of them told me it was "gut-wrenching, riveting and life-affirming" or simply, "it's really good," I'd have read it by now. Outstanding review.

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  4. Melanie: Yea I had the same problem I thought it was going to be about math geeks or something.

    Noushkie: Yea, I think that's part of why I waited a year, didn't want it to feel forced.

    VR: Well let me know what you think once you read it. I'm curious to hear what people think of it.

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  5. Excellent review. I'll definitely have to add this to my incredibly long TBR list...geez, you couldn't have found its flaws, could you? I don't have TIME to read. *grumble, grumble

    Stll, it sounds great.

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  6. Another book on my TBR list. And I loved how you said you thought it was about math. That is something I'd say...

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  7. I hate it when people bug you over and over again to read something. It just makes me not want to read it. But it sounds like it's a good thing you finally did. Sounds like a good book, I may need to pick it up.

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  8. Oh , I 've never heard of this book. Sounds like an interesting one.
    I need to put this on my reading list.
    Have a nice day!
    Betty

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  9. Good review and I liked that you didn't say 'ya gotta read this book.' Left for us to make up our own minds. Phew. 'Cos seriously it sounds like it would be hard work to read. Ever since I read Salman Rushdie's 'Midnight Children' I've never wanted to read about India again. That book took two months of my life.

    However, you have tempted my taste buds for Life of Pi ... :)

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  10. You put it down to go to the bathroom? Part-timer.

    I read this years ago when it won the Booker prize and really enjoyed it - think I need to contemplate picking it up again because I can't remember that much about it!

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  11. Carol: I'll try harder in the future to find the flaws in every book I read, just for you.

    Tiffany: Yea, I'm not a fan of math at all. Ick.

    Eva: Yea, I enjoyed it. I also see the irony in me complaining about people bugging me to read a book and yet telling people to read this book. Ah well. Do as I say not as I do.

    Betty: Always glad to help people's reading lists get longer.

    Sharon: Despite how it sounds I didn't actually find it to be that difficult of a read. It didn't really dwell on any of the depressing stuff about India but more the good. It focused on this one kid who happens to be Indian rather than focuses on India through this kid.

    The Girl: I know, I know. I'm such a lightweight. Yea I hate that. I'll remember a book I enjoyed but can't remember any of the plot points.

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  12. Oh Chris, im reading this just now!
    I read Life of Pi years back and still rmbr it like its yesterday. I picked it up bcz of the hype but also bcz it had a tiger and boy together on a raft. I mean, the very concept is so freakin awesome.

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