Life of Pi (Yann Martel) – Review

Life of Pi : a novelLife of Pi by Yann Martel
Age: Adult
Genre: Fiction
Source: My copy
Publisher: Harcourt, 2001
ISBN: 0156027321 / 319 pages
Find this book at your local library

For 16-year-old Pi, his life is about to change when his family decides to leave their home and zoo in India, and set roots in Canada. On the ship ride across the Atlantic, Pi’s ship has a mysterious accident and sinks, leaving Pi in a lifeboat with none other than 3 of his family’s former zoo animals: an orangutan, a hyena and a tiger named Richard Parker. Pi tells the story of his time aboard the lifeboat with 3 very dangerous and deadly animals.

I’m roughly 11 years late in reading this book, and 11 years behind on the enthusiasm and appreciation of this book. Truthfully, I found this book to be terribly boring, even after my husband explained in long detail the metaphor of the tiger, the sea, and the island. Honestly, I just had no interest in this book, but I read it because I felt I had to read it because everyone else read it. Also, I really disliked Bel Canto, which most everyone else adored, and I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Boy in Striped Pajamas, which most everyone else adored. I’m 0 for 3 with the bestsellers.

Life of Pi was choppy and I didn’t like how the author just jumped around Pi’s life. There was a huge amount of attention paid to Pi’s name; named Piscine Molitor Patel after a French swimming pool, nicknamed Pi (3.14) to deter kids from pronouncing his name as pissing instead of Piscine. Then there was another chunk of the book that defended zoos and their treatment of animals. Then there was another large chunk of the book devoted to Pi’s ernest and devoted fascination with the three biggest religions in India (Islam, Judaism and Hinduism). After all of that, we get to the shipwreck and Pi’s life on the open water among sharks, flying fish, turtles and the three zoo animals that landed in the lifeboat with him. The book was long, I didn’t find Pi’s narration all that intriguing, although I did like how Martel ended the book.

Maybe I just need to take a break from reading. I haven’t liked or really enjoyed any of the recent books I’ve read, and I wonder if my head is just too full of expectations. Or maybe I’m just looking for a very specific type of story and none of the books I’ve picked up are that story? It’s quite plausible. Until I find that perfect book, I have very little hope of liking anything that waits for me. =/

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