Life of Pi by Yann Martel


Title: Life of Pi
Author: Yann Martel
Published: May 2003 by Mariner Books

My Rating: 2 stars
Tags: Fiction | Religion | Survival
Includes: Violence, Disturbing Scenes

First Lines: My suffering left me sad and gloomy. Academic study and the steady, mindful practice of religion slowly brought me back to life.



Piscine Molitor Patel aka Pi, is the son of a zookeeper. His family moves from India to North America via a Japanese cargo ship... that sinks. Pi is the only human survivor, and manages to escape the sinking ship on a lifeboat, with a few other animals on board: an injured zebra, orangutan, hyena, and Bengal tiger. After the tiger, Richard Parker, kills all of the other animals, it's just him and Pi on the lifeboat for 227 days until their rescue. They have a memorable experience together, and with Pi's elaborate knowledge of animal behavior, are able to survive and tell their story. But will anyone believe it?

I had high expectations for this particular book and had been dying to read it. The intense summary really got me hooked and I had read an endless number of awesome reviews for it on Amazon. However, I was very disappointed. The book is split into three parts: before, during, and after Pi's survival at sea. And I have to say: the first 93 pages of the book (the entire Part 1) droned on and on. I was falling asleep, daydreaming...it just couldn't hold my attention. Here I was, expecting a great survival story and all it was was religion! Pi has 3 religions, which I find ridiculous, especially since they are all completely different. He obviously doesn't understand correctly, but the author makes it sound like a great thing.

I think the actual idea for the book was fantastic and really creative. Just a boy and a 450-pound Bengal tiger living together on a lifeboat for almost a year at sea? I enjoyed reading about all of the encounters that happened to them, but still something kept me from really digging into this book. After much thought, I realized it was the author's writing style. He wrote the story filled to the brim with facts and information about animals and botany. Even though they were interesting, it made it feel like I was just reading a textbook at times. He obviously did a fair amount of research which I give credit to him for. But there wasn't emotion in the book or any of Pi's deep feelings included in the writing.

It was also interesting seeing how Pi's survival instincts kicked in and how he transformed throughout the story. At first, he's in denial of what happened to him, then he feels depressed, then hopeful, etc.

From page 113
I was certain I wasn't alone. We would be rescued soon. A ship would appear on the horizon. I would climb aboard and be greeted by my family. I only had to ensure my survival for the next few hours until this rescue ship came.

There was a lot of controversy I noticed while reading reviews for this book, about the ending. I won't spoil it, but let's just say that it was not expected. I actually liked the ending and the sort of philosophical message that was sneakily implied. But overall, after finally finishing this book, it seriously felt like a burden was lifted off my shoulders. I don't even know why - but I just found the writing so bland and boring! Give it a try, if you want. I'd recommend it to older and mature people, particularly adults, who would most likely enjoy it more.

Book Supplied by: Bought at a used bookstore.

20 comments:



Bianca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bianca said...

I read this one for school and although I got behind (and failed some of the quizzes) I finally set now and finished the book (I had like 100 and something pages to read) before the major test over it the next day. The ending was amazing, IMO. I love the parallels between the characters/animals. If you liked to read my review of it, here's a link http://wickedgoodbooks.blogspot.com/2010/02/life-of-pi-by-yann-martel.html

Great review!

brizmus said...

It's funny, I ADORED this book but really didn't like the ending. AT ALL! Kind of the opposite of you. Sorry this didn't live up to your expectations.

Muse in the Fog said...

Thanks for the honest review! I hope you really enjoy your next book :)

I review books on my blog too, I like your title!

Adriana said...

I read this book my junior year of high school and really enjoyed it. I thought the ending was great, I really was expecting it. I agree though that it's not really for everyone.

Jessica Secret said...

I'm not sure if I want to read this one or not...we'll see I guess. Thanks for your review!

Flo S. said...

weirdly enough, I have also heard how good this book is. Plus, I think a sequel for the book just came out. I might as well try to read te book with no expectations. None at all. Thanks for the heads up, I think.

Eleni @ La Femme Readers said...

Nice honest review. I never really was interested in this book and now I know why :)

mcdonaldrenee said...

Sorry to hear you didn't love it. I haven't read it yet, but I own it and have heard great things from other people... but I like philosophical, "dense" writing, so maybe I'll fair better. I like that you don't just review YA books though, but branch out into literary fiction sometimes... I plan to do that with my blog too.

Good review, and thanks for being honest and not just buying into the hype that it's a "good book"

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

I just saw this book at our school library and wondered if it was any good. At least now if I decide to read it I'll go in aware of what might some weakness of the story. Thanks!

Anna ♥ said...

Awww, it sounds like it was a difficult read. I've heard great things about this book and one of my friends raved about it before, but I never got around to reading it. I don't think I will now either. A facts heavy and slow starting book doesn't sound like a fun reading experience.

The Library Lurker said...

What an honest review! I actually almost picked this up at the library the other day, but I didn't. Now that I've read your review I don't think that I will anytime soon. I might this summer though, when I have more time to read.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Very honest review!! I have been debating reading this one for a long time just because it's so talked about. Thanks for the honest review, so now I know what to expect!!

Bookie said...

That sucks that you didn't like it. I've heard mixed reviews on this book but the fact that it has such a slow pace in the beginning doesn't endear it to me. I might just end up reading it to see what all the fuss is about.

That Blond Guy said...

I LOVED this book. And that's no exaggeration. I really did love it.

Very confusing ending. I think it added to the book.

Kelly said...

Great review, Ashley! I read part of this for my Adolescent Lit. class in college. I just didn't knonw what to feel about the part that I read, so I haven't picked it up anymore...It's strange how that happens. I will have to attempt to read it again. We'll see! :D

JenM said...

I love that you were honest about your feelings for this book. However, I had the exact opposite impression of it when I read it a few years ago. I don't remember the details of the book that well, but I do remember that I hadn't been interested in reading it but then it was selected by my bookclub so I had to read it.

I absolutely loved it. Whenever I don't like my bookclub's current selection, I think about how I didn't want to read this book, but then it turned out to be so great. I didn't find any of the book (including the beginning) to be slow or hard to read. I tried not to delve too deeply into the philosophical meanings of the book - rather to just enjoy it as a fascinating and engaging story. The ending threw me a bit, but I don't mind when books leave me with questions rather than answers. Anyway, I'd encourage everyone to read it themselves and see what they think.

Okapi said...

I read this book when I was in third grade, and I was engrossed/freaked out. Even though my attention span was short back then, this book kept a tether to my attention throughout the entire read. Personally, I would rate it much higher, but I can see some of the points you make on your review.

angelatarantula said...

thanks for the honest review! I personally have been trying to get my hands on this book for a while, my 7th grade english teacher recommended it, so I now understand why she liked it because its more of an adult book. I guess i'll have to check it out for myself!

Christinabean said...

What a great review! I'm glad that you are so honest and were at least able to finish the book. Sadly, I have never had a desire to read this book. I have heard many great things about it but just have had no interest in it myself.

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