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on September 7, 2016
When I came to the part in the book where Pi is a boat with a tiger and realized that still had many pages ahead, I thought: “well, this is going to be a boring kid in a boring boat with a boring tiger until he is either rescued or death”. I couldn’t have been more wrong. To say that this novel tells the story of a boy in a boat with a tiger reduces into a lame survival plot all the effort the author makes for this book to convey a great deal of wisdom to the reader.

Yann Martell manages to tell the same man vs. nature themed story in a completely new fashion, loaded with questions about life and death, beliefs, family and spirituality. Survival stories remind us not only that life is worth living but that we can cling to the desire to live as long as we can find a reason to keep fighting, what if the reason to stay alive is life itself? Pi shows us that sometimes it is when we lose everything that we might find ourselves.

I’m hesitant to define this tale as a religious one yet it is deeply spiritual. Pi has a great heart and his soul (his mind, if you rather) craves for knowledge, both physical which is made clear by his interest in zoology and metaphysical which leads him to approach religion. Aristotle said that “All men by nature desire to know” and Pi’s desire to know is nothing else that this natural desire common to all humankind.

I believe that what makes Pi different from other boys (and men) is the fact that he is able to realise that both the physical and metaphysical knowledge are rooted in a common true. The spiritual search of Pi is not the search of someone trying to find a messiah, nor of someone looking for a new lifestyle; it is a pursue of a higher truth. That’s the reason why he can be a pious Hindu. And Muslim. And Catholic. Because he understands that both three religions convey a true message. “I told her that in fact she was not so wrong; that Hindus, in their capacity for love, are indeed hairless Christians, just as Muslims, in the way they see God in everything, are bearded Hindus, and Christians, in their devotion to God, are hat-wearing Muslims”.

Martell gives you a novel with a powerful insight of a very smart and pious boy who clings to life while coexisting with a tiger in the middle of the sea. The words are overwhelming by the deep meaning they convey and at the same time beautifully used to describe an imposing scenario.

This is a book totally worth reading, I totally enjoyed it from beginning to end, loved the characters, yes, it might be a little slow at first and the time spent in the sea to long, but it’s definitely worth it.
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on May 25, 2017
The first part of this book was a little difficult to get through. I will admit that at several points I was checking to see how far into the book I was and hoping it would just finish already. However, that's not to say that there were not several points which made me smile. I unquestionably enjoyed this author's writing style. I am not a religious person, however, I did find Pi's religious activities very enduring and thoroughly enjoyed reading about them. Once Pi and Richard Parker were on the boat I felt as though this book picked up quiet a bit. The ending of this book absolutely made this a gem for me. I will not give anything away, but I'm very glad that I finished it and even purchased and watched the movie right after finishing the book just for fun with my husband (who has not read the book). We have now nicknamed our ginger cat Richard Parker.
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on January 19, 2017
Life of Pi by Yann Martel is about an Indian boy, Pi, who gets shipwrecked with a tiger. Of course there's more to it than that.
Life of Pi takes place in 1970's India where we get the story of Pi growing up in a zoo. The book continues with Pi ending in a shipwreck and having to share a lifeboat with a tiger.
The way Martel tells the story is very interesting. There's the parallel story of Martel himself going to visit an older Pi who tells the story that we are now reading. There's the occasional zoology lesson interspersed and an examination of faith. All this combined with the brutality of surviving in the Pacific Ocean. All of this is told through Pi, through Martel, through Pi which makes it quite a third hand telling.
The ending is however genius as it completely flips the story on its head and you might have a revelation from it.

Overall a great read, and be sure to catch the movie as well!
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on June 13, 2017
I first saw the movie (excellent movie if you haven't seen it) and because the movie was so good, I bought the book. I wanted more detail, which books always have.
However, I wanted to add a warning. The second half of the book is very gruesome and can get a bit tedious with details, sometimes VERY GRUESOME and TEDIOUS with details! It is only the second book I have ever read that I prefer the movie to the book. It has the "heart" of the book without showing all the gore.
That said, I DO recommend the book. I sobbed, smiled and more. Just not for everyone. You'll definitely remember it awhile after reading.
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on April 5, 2013
Not many of us would dare to subject ourselves to be stranded in the middle of the ocean, simply for the purpose of a journey to self-discovery. It's tough business, and, thank you very much, we're comfortable in our houses and cars and we love our refrigerators full of food and water, and out TV's in the living room, and... You get the picture. Writers are these weird creatures that have this ability, to subject themselves to the horrors of starvation and thirst and uttermost human suffering, all without leaving their bedroom, only to help us open our own eyes, help us look inside and remember what's important in this life. Remember why we live, why we love, why we breathe.

LIFE OF PI is precisely this kind of book, one exquisite dash that starts in lavishly colored Indian zoo, speeds through a tangle of every possible religion you can thinks of, lands on a ship and proceeds to showcase the horrible juxtaposition of man against nature, magnificence against pitiful cowardice, the vastness and overwhelming glory of life against small and greedy and at times horrific need for plain survival. It's told from the point of view of a sixteen year old Piscine Patel, or, as the title of the book says, Pi for short. It is told by Pi himself many years later, to a novelist who is searching for his next story. The prose structure is simple, yet rich with words that will take your breath away and make you reach for the dictionary, all the while snickering and outright laughing, because the book is chock-full of good humor, jokes about three-toed sloths included.

Don't watch the movie yet, read the book first. The last line made me cry like a baby, it was simply the perfect ending, and immediately I wanted to read the book again. And I will. And you should do. It's beautiful.
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on September 13, 2017
I just finished the book. What an amazing story, amazing writer. While reading, I was no longer sitting in my reading chair with book in hand. I was on the life boat, the raft, with Pi and living his adventure with him. No, I was him. The ending, well, I won’t discuss the ending so as not to spoil the story for someone else, but I will say that it was perfect and very satisfying and made me smile. I’ve never read a book like this one. It will stay with me, another good friend residing on my bookshelf. Thank you Yann Martel.
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on April 12, 2015
I saw the movie quite awhile ago, but the book has always intrigued me. I am so glad I finally read it; it enlightened me with a number of ideas that I did not get from the movie. Pi's childhood revolved around the zoo in India where his father was the owner. When Pi ends up on a lifeboat with 4 different animals (a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a tiger named Richard Parker) he puts his knowledge to good use. The violence in the book is with the animals themselves and it is graphic, but that is the law of survival.

Pi credits his religion, his faith in God as the thing that saved him. He actually practices 3 different religions, apparently with no difficulty Pi relies on his ingenuity for survival. He finds and used many things on the lifeboat to survive, i.e., he builds his own life raft (that he attaches to the lifeboat by rope) while afraid of sleeping with Richard Parker so close. Collecting rainwater, catching fish and turtles, and developing a relationship with Richard Parker, all demonstrate his uncanny abilities.

The book is very well written; it is a pleasure to read. Pi narrates, but he is relating the story to a another person who actually writes the novel. I cannot give the book 5 stars; there is a section where apparently Pi is hallucinating and I struggled to read pages that made no sense to me. Pi does tell the reader in the beginning that anyone who reads and believes the book will strengthen their belief in God. Survival is possible, but not alone.
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on November 29, 2012
I've read so many rapturous reviews of this book that perhaps my expectations were too high - but, I have to say I didn't get it. It was certainly readable, which is saying something for me, as my interest in the animal kingdom is primarily in staying away from it so as not to be mauled (it is irrational, I know it, but even hamsters scare me). And prior to reading this book, I could not have imagined even remotely enjoying a book about a boy and a tiger and a lifeboat - and yet I did enjoy it. I guess where I run into a problem is that throughout the reading, I had in mind some statement I saw somewhere that claimed that reading this book would make you believe in God. Regardless of whether I already do believe in God, I thought this was an interesting statement. But when I finished the book, I could not begin to imagine why it would make anyone believe in God. And so when it ended, I was kind of disappointed that it didn't strike me as the magical book I'd expected.

All the same - the pages kept turning, and I've recommended to a friend (more to have someone to discuss opinions with than because I think it's a book that shouldn't be missed, but, still).
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Did you see the movie? I did, a few times. I loved it. I rarely like reading a book after seeing the movie. The pictures imprint in my mind of characters and places which can mess with my own interpretations of what I read. But the movie followed the book so well that I didn't need to divorce myself from the movie. It was like watching the deluxe version of the movie with bits that maybe had to land on cutting room floor for time constraints. As usual the book got more into the mind of the main character. But not a lot more. With the ongoing narrative in the movie, you were able to get into his head anyway.

I was better able to enjoy this book because I was able to borrow it through Amazon's Kindle-Unlimited program and then I picked up the Whisper-synch for voice. By speeding up the narrator's voice, I was able to read the book in a more comfortable speed for me without losing the brilliant narration. By the way, there were actually two narrators: Jeff Woodman and Alexander Marshall. To tell you the truth, I don't know who was who. But whoever it was they did an excellent job.

You know, I feel I may have to read this again sometime. I loved the time on the ocean and then on that little island. I still feel I can taste the salt spray and see the fluorescent brine in the night sea. I will probably watch the movie again. There is a depth to the character and plot that feels healing to me.
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on February 14, 2014
I’ll open by saying I developed a love/hate relationship with this book. I felt like I was back in the eighth grade reading “The Old Man and the Sea”. The first portion I loved, however, the middle section was just a lot of drudgery for me. The difference between this story and “The Old Man and the Sea”, the thing that kept me reading, is that I thoroughly enjoyed spending my time with Pi Patel. (I can’t say that about the old man.) He’s funny, compassionate, clever, reflective, and I couldn’t help but become attached to him. Were there many a time I asked myself, “How many different ways am I going to hear about killing and eating some sea creature?” (Or eating some other disgusting thing.) Yes! In fact, I started resenting how long it was taking me to finish, but for some reason I pushed on. I won’t go into a lengthy discussion about the story’s meaning, except to say I personally feel it was simply a tale about how this boy created a fantastic story as a means of processing his reality. On a side note, I have to say my favorite part of the book was his conversation with his fellow blind castaway. It was one of many humorous episodes. I’m not sure how helpful this review is, but to conclude, I wasn’t such a fan of the story, but the protagonist made it a worthwhile read.
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