So I started going to a book club with one of my friends here in Hesston. I went a couple times at the end of last year and decided that it would be fun to go for real. So we got our new year list of books and the first one was Life of Pi by Yann Martel. You can read the Goodreads description here. I have not watched the movie yet, because I have a problem with actually reading the book if I have already seen the movie. Well even though it took me longer than a month to read it, I finished the book last night. I decided that I wanted to blog about the books I read this year just for the fun of it.
The book starts of really slow, so I had a hard time seeing this book as a movie. I can see this book becoming curriculum for colleges that have literary classes. There was a lot of imagery and descriptive writing. I'm still not sure about this movie, because the book is very gruesome.
Here is the book in a nutshell (Spoiler Alert)
The story is fictional but it is written as if it were a true story. Pi is a young boy who grew up in India. His father owns a zoo so he spends his childhood at the zoo.
There is a large section where Pi discovers Christianity and Islam, my religion nerd brain was incredibly happy about this section. A lot of people see this as confusing and my book club friends were not very impressed by it. I see this part as incredibly beautiful. He is part of the Indian culture so he has grown up with his polytheistic religion and he is very devout. He discovers Christianity through the eyes of his Hindu religion. He gets hooked when he realizes that this God loves his people so much that he is willing to sacrifice his son. Pi is completely baffled and spends a lot of time with the Catholic priest in his town and eventually he becomes a Christian. Then he stumbles upon the Islamic faith. In the same way he is taken by the Christian faith he is baffled by the dedication of the Islamic faith and he eventually becomes faithful here as well. He finds a way in his teenage brain and heart to faithfully dedicate himself to all three religions. I found it completely perplexing and amazing, it was a beautiful way to look at all three religions. It was also interesting to see the way it intertwined throughout the rest of the movie.
The books quickly picks up when Pi's father decides that they are done living in India and they are moving to Canada. So they sell all of the animals to other zoos, and most of them they have to deliver so they pack up on a cargo ship and head out. In the middle of the Pacific ocean the ship goes down. Pi finds himself on a lifeboat with a zebra, hyena, orangu-tan, and a bengal tiger. The rest of the story is his battle to survive on this lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with these wild animals. Eventually it comes down to the tiger and Pi in the boat. He is on the boat for over 200 days and the majority of the story is about him learning how to survive and not let Richard Parker (the tiger) dominate him. There were a lot of weird twists and turns that kept it interesting.
When he finally arrives on the shores of Mexico he is visited by people from the company that owned the ship. He tells them the entire story and they don't believe him. So he tells them a story without animals where there were just people. I would have to say that the people story was even more disturbing than the animal story. It leaves it up for you to believe which one is the real story. I vote animals!
This is not a light read but it is most definitely a good read!