Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Guest Review: Life of Pi

Perin Squires has been a best friend of mine my entire life. We're cousins, you see, and being related gives you the kind of benefit to get to know someone your whole life. Perin is an avid reader, and always has been. Whenever I visit, there are always books strewn all over the place, which gives me the chance to scope out books that I would otherwise never see. I remember seeing Life of Pi in book orders growing up, but I never gave it a chance. This review makes me rethink that. (Perin: I may be stealing this book from your shelves soon. This is a warning  )So without further ado, I give you Perin's review of Life with Pi!

Life Of Pi: A Novel
Written by Yann Martel
Illustrated by Tomislav Torjanac
Released September 2001

From Amazon.com:
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?


I may be a bit biased about this book, as I wrote my IB English paper on it, but Life Of Pi by Yann Martel is one of my favorite books, and trust me, I’ve read a lot of books.
Plus Yann Martel is Canadian. Score.

Hardly before in my life (and not many times after) have I read a book so sharply written and cleverly organized, and that has been able to penetrate me intellectually, emotionally, and left me thinking about “what it all means” 4 years and 20 reads later.

Granted, the beginning may be considered “slow” to a lot of readers due to its descriptive nature in Pi’s early years. But it is integral to the second half of the book’s turmoil, and contains lots of interesting viewpoints on life, death, love, religion, and biology (particularly the three toed sloth). What I also love about Life Of Pi is that everything in this novel is intentional, but with an air of effortlessness that is astounding to find, especially in modern literature. Nothing is forced into your face as the reader, but the subtlety of every line is so perfect that particular lines will find their way back into your subconscious, making you wonder if perhaps there was something more you might have missed.

At the end of the book there is a mystery presented to you, which leaves the reader to piece together all the clues presented in the novel to choose what is truth, and what is “dry, yeast less, factuality”. When you think you've found the answer, something else causes you to question your own logic. Whatever your outcome, “it goes with God.”

My Rating: 5/5 


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