Book Review of Life of Pi

Life of Pi
Life of Pi
Author: Yann Martel
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 138 more book reviews


Wow. Just .... wow. Sometimes I can't understand why books win awards and honors. But for Life of Pi, which is a Mann Booker Prize winner and is on the 1001 Books list, I totally get it. This is a really great story - and also an awesome mind twister.

Pi Patel grew up in India as the son of a zoo keeper. Although his parents were athiests, Pi follows the Hindu, Christian and Muslim faiths - all at the same time. He can't understand why this should be a problem because, as he says, he just wants to "love God".

When Pi is sixteen, his parents decide to move to Canada. He and his parents board a Japanese ship bound for North America. Many of the zoo animals travel with them, as they had been sold to various zoos in the US and Canada. When the ship sinks, Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a zebra, hyena, baboon and Bengal tiger. Eventually, through somewhat gruesome natural animal actions, only Pi and the tiger are left in the boat.

The story of how Pi survives for seven months in a 26-foot lifeboat with a man-eating tiger was utterly fascinating to me. And it starts out very believably. But as the months wear on without rescue, the stories begin to become more and more unbelievable - almost as if Pi was halucinating. And yet the way the stories are told, they ARE believable. But are they true? The ending of the book seems to explain what truly happened to Pi, but does it really? The truth is left up to the reader. In the words of Pi Patel, "The world isn't just what it is. It is how we understand it."