Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Book Review - Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martell
Released September 2001
Ebook 464 pages
Publisher Canongate Books
Rating 5 out of 5
Source Purchased

One boy, one boat, one tiger ...After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.

My thoughts…
I want to start this review by being completely honest… I saw Life of Pi the film advertised at the cinema a few months ago and didn’t really give it a second thought. I then bought a tablet computer and downloaded the Amazon Kindle app, when looking for something to read I stumbled across the ebook version for 20p and thought I would see what all the fuss was about.

Life of Pi is the story of a 16 year-old boy call Pi who becomes shipwrecked in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with only a lifeboat and a Bengal Tiger called Richard Parker for company. The book was released more than 10 years ago and never has the saying ‘better late than never’ been more fitting.

Like most books, this has its good and bad points. What I loved about this book was the roller-coaster of emotions that it took me on – there is great joy and equally great sadness, you become fearful for Pi’s survival and belief that he will live, you laugh out loud on one page, but are bought to tears on the next. The writer, Yann Martel, manages to bring out every emotion possible throughout the book and by the end it leaves you emotionally drained and my head was spinning, but in a good way!

The story seemed a simple tale of a castaway waiting to be rescued, albeit not in a traditional sense. But the ending had the most unexpected twist, I was literally left both open-mouthed and scratching my head! Throughout the story I began to believe the unbelievable, thought the impossible was possible and that pure determination in ones beliefs would see Pi though anything that life could throw at him. While that is true to certain extended, Pi provides an alternative story to the authorities and I am left trying to decide which story I truly believe, or whether I want to believe any at all. To fully understand what I mean by this you’ll need to read the book for yourself, as I wouldn’t want to ruin it for you.

As for the bad points… there isn’t anything that I particularly disliked. I felt that the story did drag on a little in places, but I understand that this was intentional in order for the reader to really get a feel for the length of time that Pi was lost at sea. I also didn’t particularly enjoy the lengthy parts about religion at the beginning of the book, but again I understand that this was needed for the purpose of the story and my dislike is personal as I am not a religious person.

In summary, Life of Pi is a story that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It is a story that at times is difficult to read, but the bond between Richard Parker and Pi is heart-warming and the story will leave a lasting impression on you. In my reviews I usually like to compare to another book, but in all honestly I don’t think there are any other books that could ever come close to this. A truly inspirational story that I will never forget.

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