Life Of Pi – Yann Martel – Book Review

I have to say that I am disappointed after reading Life of Pi. My university lecturer recommended this book to our class and since its cinema release was so popular, I thought it would be an amazing read. I haven’t seen the film because I prefer to read the book first and create my own interpretation before watching the film.

The story is about a young Indian boy who is a castaway in the Pacific ocean. Hungry to survive he has to do whatever it takes, including avoiding the 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker on board. The story is in three parts, the first is about his family, his background and his love for the animals at the zoo. The first part is also based around religion. The second part is the Pacific ocean and his struggle to survive and the very last part is about how no one believes his astonishing story.

I think the first part was very descriptive and I love the imagery that the author paints when Pi is describing the zoo that he lives in. It was a little tedious at times because I found myself wanting to skip it all to the actual adventure. The author doesn’t fail with language, he uses an excellent tone throughout the novel but I feel that he lets the reader down with his plot. I feel like it could have been a little stronger.

At some point, I think I was half way through, I put the book down and couldn’t be bothered to read the rest. I had to ‘make’ myself finish it. I don’t like doing this because then reading becomes a chore and not a pleasure. The ending also confused me. When Pi is telling his story to the two men at the end, he gives them another story – something completely different to the one we have just been told and he asks them ‘Which story do you prefer?’ Leading up to that sentence I was confused and as a reader a little fed up. I just wanted to rush the book and finish it. I also found myself skipping paragraphs because the author rambles on a little bit too much. Now I have read it. I wonder if I should have watched the film first. With it being such a visual book, I would have hoped that the film could shed some light on the grey areas that I found hard to understand.

Overall, I give the book three stars and that is me being generous. It would have been two but because of the complexity of the language, I cannot fault the author on that, I gave it three. I do recommend this book to someone who has the attention span to really get to root of the story but for me it is just a book that will gather dust on my bookshelf and I doubt that I will pick it up and read it again.

Rating – 3 stars

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