'Life of Pi' follows Piscine 'Pi' Patel, whose parents own a zoo in Pondicherry, India. At first, the narrator tells us that this is a true story, and we get to know Pi in his hometown, learn about his relationships with teachers and friends, and travel with him through his discovery of different religions. There is a lot of talk about the animals - zoo theory if you will - and how they get on and live in a zoo instead of escaping or killing each other. Only about the first third of the book is based on the description of Pi's formative childhood years. The back of the book tells us, so I don't mind telling you, that the family decide to move their zoo to Canada, but the ship they travel in sinks before they can get to the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Pi is the only survivor, and makes his way to the only functioning lifeboat along with a hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, an orang-utan and a massive Royal Bengal tiger.
The story is quite a powerful one, and I really enjoyed finding out about how Pi survived for many months on his lifeboat. The novel seemed to be well-researched, with details such as the different types of fish he caught, methods of gathering water when floating on the sea, and how not to be killed by a vicious predator. The moods Pi goes through seemed realistic, too. I can imagine that somebody would have a hard time surviving under that pressure, knowing that they had lost their family and that they may not see land again. I am not a religious person but even so, I did not find Pi's religious exploration of faith overwhelming. It was not preachy. Pi tries several different religions so he can't really be biased. It did not interfere with the story, for me.
While I read, I really did hope that Pi would survive. I grew to like his storytelling, and looked forward to a victorious reunion with land, because we are told at the beginning that he does live in Canada now. While the novel had a sort of happy ending, I am not a fan of the way it twisted in the final few pages. If you have seen the movie, then you will know what I mean - about how strange the ending is after such a fantastic story. I prefer to think that the final pages don't exist. Overall, I enjoyed the novel and felt satisfied with it until the weird ending. I would not let this put you off as it can be ignored if you don't like it. I must say that I liked the inclusion of animal relationships with humans/animal psychology, as that sort of thing fascinates me.
Image via goodreads.com
This post was written by guest blogger Jemma.