Pi Patel, a God-loving boy and the son of a zookeeper, has a fervent love of stories and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family and their zoo animals emigrate from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship. Alas, the ship sinks – and Pi finds himself in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi. Can Pi and the tiger find their way to land? Can Pi’s fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they do?
Ever since i saw the movie, Life of Pi, I’ve been wanting to read the book that the movie is based on. Awhile ago i had a customer come in asking if we had the movie for hire as they had just finished reading the book with their family. We started talking about it and soon enough they were offering me the loan of the book. Again my with own personal lending library 🙂
The book is about a boy named Pi. He and his family live in and run a zoo in Pondicherry, India. Around when he is a teenager his Father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to various zoos around America. They travel from India to Canada aboard a sea freighter with their zoo of animals however due to unknown reasons, the ship sinks and Pi is left stranded on a lifeboat with only a tiger, Richard Parker, as company.
Obviously as i had seen the movie i knew most of the storyline. I don’t think that fact ruins it for you if you have, as the story isn’t so much of Will he make it in the end? more so How will he make it in the end?
The story was quite slow paced and the book goes into quite a lot of detail, especially during Pi’s time on the lifeboat. At first i found this tedious however towards the end i realised that it had slowly and subtly sucked me in and i was thinking like Pi and “surviving” with him on this incredible journey. I was quite impressed as it wasn’t forced at all – it was almost a natural progression.
The character development was superb and you were really able to get inside of Pi’s head. The honesty in the book was almost too much.
The beginning of the story has quite a lot of humour in it as it is describing Pi’s childhood. I think this is what makes the rest of the story so heart wrenching as not only are you witness to a person trying to survive against all elements, you know the kind of life they lead before and who they were – in his case an extremely likeable boy bursting full of curiosity and love. Also unlike the movie, the book is a lot more graphic and intense.
As Pi calls himself a Hindu, Christian and Muslim, there are a lot of references to God and religion in the book. As a Christian i can’t say i agreed with it all, however that is obviously a personal opinion. It certainly challenges those who do not believe in God, especially (believe it or not) agnostics more than atheists!
It is quite thought provoking and how you understand the story in sum by the end, i believe is quite a reflection on how you personally, think as a whole. Asking someone what they thought about the book and why can be an insight into their soul. This also goes for the movie.
Overall it is a great read and very well written. The subject isn’t extremely happy go lucky however as the book says, “This story has a happy ending”. I would highly recommend it.