Rating: 3/5 stars.
Life of Pi will make you think.
Initially, I was unimpressed. The book jacket promised a survival story about a boy on a boat who has to contend with not only the elements, but a ferocious tiger too. However, the book began with copious reflections on religion and random musings about animals. I understand that the author probably wanted to set up the story and provide some initial food for thought, but the only thing I appreciated out of the first 100 pages was the idea that people can believe in more than one thing (whether it be religion, or just conflicting ideas in general) and still be a good person. Pi practices multiple religions, but he has good intentions and a pure heart.
I liked the second part of the book. I did not love it, but I liked it. The middle 200 pages or so delineated Pi’s harrowing struggle to survive in a vast ocean with almost nothing to aid him, and a frightening beast beside him. Martel’s description of the plot and the imagery he employs entertained me, though I did not empathize with Pi to any great extent. I felt like I was reading a decent, unsurprising story.
Then, the ending struck. This book has one one of those endings that makes me
mutter scream out loud “what is my life? Who am I? My entire life is a lie!” I promise you, if you read this book from start to finish, you will want need someone to talk it through with by the end, because your mind will explode. Or combust. Like I always say, I love books that make me feel, and books that make me think. Life of Pi falls into the latter category. Though if I reveal what it made think about, I will spoil the book for those who haven’t read it yet. Here’s the link to my review on Goodreads if you want to read my opinion of the ending.
Overall, despite the feelings of frustration I expressed in the spoiler section of my Goodreads view, I would recommend Life of Pi to nearly anyone. I do not necessarily agree with the author’s views, but I respect his writing and I do think this book deserves all of its praise.