Sunday, January 10, 2010

Life of Pi

I heard a lot of good things about this book long before I finally got around to reading it.  I also had several people comment on how good it was when they saw that I was reading it.  I have to say, I had high expectations.

Part I, however, was indescribably boring.  Ninety pages is just too many before you get to the main story - the story of a 16-year-old boy alone on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a 450-pound Bengal tiger.  Really, knowing that was coming and all of the glowing recommendations I had gotten were the only things keeping me reading.

Life of Pi is the story of Piscine Molitor Patel's journeys.  Part I is mostly his journey through religions: Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam.  We also get some background on his life growing up as the son of a zookeeper (with some information about the behavior of animals that will play a key role later in the book).  Ultimately, however, I felt this section could have been much shorter, and I still would have gotten all of the pertinent information.

With Part II, we finally get to the journey we've all been waiting for.  While Pi's family is in the process of moving from India to Canada on a cargo ship, taking the animals from their zoo along with them, the ship sinks.  Pi is the lone human survivor, but he still must outwit his animal companions.

Part II kept me entranced.  I didn't want to put the book down, and I couldn't wait to see how it ended.  You are told early on that he survives, but how he survived was the question that needed an answer.

I hate to do it, but I have to give it 3 out of 5 stars because of the beginning.  It was just too long for an introduction to the main story.  Part II was phenomenal, so I would recommend it on that alone.


  1. I started reading this last night. I'll let you know what I think.

  2. OK - I like the first 90 pp. I think it told the reader who Pi is as a person, and provided insights about how he pulled survival off. I'd give it a 4.5 out of 5. Good philosophy and good adventure.