Life of Pi by Yann Martel
(Harcourt, 2001, 401 pages)
Pi is a 16 year old boy who grows up in India, the son of a zoo keeper, with strong religious curiosity. His family decides to sell the zoo and the animals and head off to Canada by boat, on board are some of the animals they sold to American and Canadian zoos. The ship sinks and Pi finds himself in a struggle against nature to survive. If you’ve seen previews for the movie you probably know one big problem Pi faces! The first part of the book delves into Pi’s childhood and his exploration of three religions (Hinduism, Catholicism, and Islam). The second part of the book is his story of survival on the lifeboat. In my opinion the author never connects these two parts together in a satisfactory way, but that doesn’t take away from the great story that Martel gives the readers. In the end I guess that is the point of the book, i.e. the link between religion and storytelling and faith. I enjoyed reading Life of Pi but was left unsatisfied at the end; I felt like I was promised more than what was delivered. This was probably not only the fault of the author but also from the reaction of previous readers like President Obama who stated it was “an elegant proof of God.” Um, not quite, but it was a good story.