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Book Review: Life of Pi

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Really, I have been reading.  I must admit that I got snookered into reading the Twilight books (not as bad as I’d feared, but mayhap not as good as the teeny-boppers claim.  Though my friend Aaron proclaims, “You can’t control the teeny-boppers.”)  Then I read a Rick Riordan book.  I was looking for his Percy Jackson series which I’d heard so much about, but I couldn’t find it at the library, so instead I got the first in his Heros of Olympus series, which seemed to be kind of a spin-off of the Percy Jackson series.  It was good, though the dénouement seemed to last about four chapters too long and the middle seemed to last a long time, too.

Anyway, I finally got around to reading something that was not intended for teeny-boppers: Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  I had been hearing about this book for years from friends who read it in book clubs and whatnot.  My friends raved about it.  They said it was sooooo good.

Therefore, I was a little disappointed in the first quarter of the book.  I just wasn’t getting into it.  The story told of a boy in India whose father owned a zoo.  The boy, Pi, is very interested in God and pursues Him by following Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism (and any other religion he might encounter).  Clerics try to explain to him that you can’t follow all of them.  You have to choose.  He responds that he’s just trying to love God, and that leaves them speechless, for who can blame a boy for trying to love God?

Pi’s family decides to move from India to Canada, and they take along some of the zoo animals that Pi’s father managed to sell to zoos in America.  However, in the Pacific Ocean, the cargo ship sinks, leaving Pi alone on a lifeboat with a zebra, and orangutan, a hyena, and a Bengal tiger.  And this, of course, is when the story really becomes interesting.  How on earth does a sixteen year old boy survive on a lifeboat for 277 days with wild animals?  Well, only the tiger, really, for the others die early on.

The story captured my attention more as I read.  Martel excellently provides the reader with a feeling of the ongoing repetition, fear, monotony, peace, and terror that might accompany months on a lifeboat adrift in the Pacific.  Pi’s relationship with the tiger becomes more and more intriguing.

And then!  The surprise ending!  No one told me there was a surprise ending.  To say more would ruin it for you.

Despite a slow start, I ended up really enjoying this book.

Score: 9/10

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About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

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