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.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

January Reading List

December didn't leave me a lot of time for reading so I am hoping to make up for lost time in January! After downloading the Kindle app on my tablet I have taken full advantage of their free offerings having downloaded Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, which I am dying to read. They also had Life of Pi for 20p, so I couldn't afford to pass that over. On top of all of those one of my favourite authors of 2012 has released the second installment of the thrilling Downy trilogy, and she has very kindly sent me a copy! 

Here's what I have to look forward to this month...

Life of Pi
The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.

The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them "the truth." After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional--but is it more true?

Pride and Prejudice
When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

Second of All
Detective Tommy Gates and Agent Ginny Sommers struggle to balance their growing personal relationship with their task of finding his father. Back home, Kiki Downey and James Hoffman are facing their own internal and external pressures. After Mary Gates is led on a different trail by Mickey's Irish kin, they are all given pieces of a puzzle that it will take the whole family to solve. Interlocked within the narrative are glimpses into how Mickey Downey became the man he is today. 

Throughout their journeys, past and present, they all must struggle with what loyalties and loves come first, and what comes... second of all.

New Year. New Start

New year. New start. Something that I am sure that we are all tired of hearing by now as everyone makes their New Year resolutions. Many will keep their resolutions, others with fail within a few days, actually some may already have! For me 2013 has kicked off to a wonderful start, my adorable boyfriend proposed to me on Christmas day and then my father in law who is battling cancer has found out that it hasn't spread and is having his removal operation scheduled. The next few months are going to be extremely difficult for us all, but if it has taught us anything, it is how precious life is and to never take anything for granted.

So with my sudden realisation it is time that I stopped procrastinating and finally sit down, write my book and read a lot more books, as you never know what is around the corner.

This year I really want to read some classic books like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Little Women as well as catching up on books that I have missed by some of my favourite authors - Dorothy Koomson, Nicolas Sparks and Marian Keyes. I am also excited to discover new authors just like I did in 2012 with Genevieve Dewey, Craig Stone and Jaimie Admans.

Lets see what 2013 has to throw at me! Oh and I just wanted to share a picture of my beautiful ring :-) x