Monday, September 14, 2009

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I didn’t know what to expect with this book. I knew that it had won some awards and I had heard good things about it, but I didn’t really know what it was about or why it was so great.

It is basically the story of a young guy named “Pi”. His father is a zookeeper in India and eventually they sell the zoo and a lot of the animals. They take a large ship transporting some of the animals when the ship sinks and Pi finds himself as the only human survivor in a life boat with a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a 450 lb. tiger. Sounds unbelievable right? Well, that is kind of the point. I think the whole point of the book is faith. I mean when someone tells you a story you have to have faith that it is true because if they were the only ones there to experience it, you will never know for sure.

Really the way he writes the story does not make it seem unbeileable at all. He tells it in such a matter of fact way. It is just like someone recounting exactly what they experienced without embellishing it to make it sound better or worse than it was. Just like “here is what happened, and then this happened…etc.” But with enough detail to make it believable and interesting.

The first part of the book was kind of slow for me. But as soon as he found himself ship wrecked, things picked up. The majority of the book chronicles his 227 days trying to survive at sea with a tiger in his boat. It is a great adventure story and the lengths at which he went to survive and the surprising coincidences that saved his life multiple times are astonishing. He has to tame the tiger in order to survive and provide him with fresh water in food the whole time so the tiger won’t kill him. All this while trying to keep himself well-fed and hydrated. Some of the highlights are an epic battle between a tiger and a shark, finding a meerkat infested floating algae island, a brief period of blindness where they randomly run in to another blind castaway, and the many fishing adventures.

Once I go into it I couldn’t put it down.

The only parts that were hard for me to read were the gruesome detail about the hyena slowing killing the zebra and the parts in the beginning where he becomes a faithful Hindu, Christian, and Muslim all at the same time. That is impossible. You might could get away with following the religious traditions of each faithfully at the same time, but there is no way all 3 can coexist if you accept and really believe the teachings of each.

But it is unlike anything I have ever read and was very entertaining.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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