Saturday, November 14, 2009

Life of Pi

Life of Pi Life of Pi by Yann Martel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It seems like it should be long and boring, the story of a boy shipwrecked on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. Then I started reading it and realized that part of the story doesn't begin until 100 pages into the book, and then it goes on for another 200 pages. What could possibly be said? But it was a good story and entertaining in its detail.

I bought an illustrated version as a gift and thought it would have been nice to be reading that version.

In the middle of it, I mentioned the book to M, who said she's avoided it because she doesn't like didactic books. After looking up didactic, I thought this one isn't trying to teach a lesson, it's just an adventure/survival story, like Hatchet. But upon further reflection I decided she was right. The book draws a parallel between Pi's story and religious stories, and makes a point that to me, speaks to religious tolerance. But read it for yourself and make your own decision.


  1. Did you see my review on Goodreads? I've tried this book twice (reading and listening) and could not get hooked. It felt too preachy to me.

    How was it illustrated?

  2. Hi!

    I didn't see your review, but I have now. I completely understand your frustration. Sometimes I think I have a high tolerance for "blah blah blah," which is what I got out of the first part of the book. That part does two things for the rest of the book:

    1) It explains how a kid could possibly end up in a lifeboat with a tiger, with a lot of context for how he dealt with the situation.

    2) All that religion (which is hardly even mentioned in the rest of the book) sets up the message, which is only really made clear in the last 30 pages.

    I like the message. It reminds me of the movie Contact (with Jodie Foster). It's a good story (that takes forever to tell), and it ends up with kind of a surprise message, one that really threw me, like this one did. I wasn't expecting it.

    So yeah, I thought it was a good survival story once he actually got onto the lifeboat. But I wouldn't say that part moved any faster than the first part. If it doesn't work for you, skip it. No great loss there.

    I only flipped through the illustrated version. I think it was a lot of sketches of a boy and a tiger on a lifeboat. There were a lot of detailed descriptions of who was where on the boat when, and it probably would have helped to have an illustration.

  3. I guess I just didn't like the character enough. Time to put the book on Bookmooch!

    I like Contact, too. Have you read the book? I'm going to Wave it to you.