Book Review: Life of Pi

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About the Book: Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel.

Synopsis: The story starts out with Piscine Molitor Patel (or ‘Pi’ Patel for short), being interviewed by the author. In the interview, Pi tells of how he was on a boat to migrate to Canada. However, there was a storm and the ship sank. The only survivors from the wreck was a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra, an orang-utan and a Royal Bengal tiger, named Richard Parker. Pi recounts his experience of survival, then finally on the 227th day, he washed onto the coast of Mexico and returned to safety. Two Japanese officials later interviewed Pi in hospital, where Pi told them his story with the animals. However, they did not believe him so he told them a story where the animals were represented by the Cook, a Japanese sailor and Pi’s own mother.

Feelings about this book: The book is actually very thought-provoking as Pi gives two versions of his story to tell the officials that it is up to them to believe in whichever story they want. He also tells the readers, or the officials, that it is ‘up to them to see which story they prefer’. This is also implied in Pi’s view of life, for example his openness to different religions. This can teach us to be more open to trying different things, especially if you have never done them before.
My favourite character in this book is Pi, as he was very resourceful during the days in which he survived in the ocean. He is also very positive towards his life, for example when he came back to civilization; he never lamented about losing his whole family, but turned to practicing his religions and even started a family. I liked the part in the book when Pi was describing how he was caught in a school of flying fish jumping over the boat. Some landed inside the boat, and Pi caught one. He didn’t want to kill the fish, but because of his hunger he did, and wept over doing so. He used the fish as bait, and caught a dorado. Pi became less afraid of killing fish for food, and was describing how ‘astonished that in such a short period of time I could go from weeping over the muffled killing of a flying fish to gleefully bludgeoning to death a dorado’.

– Soh Wen shuen (1W)

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