Sunday, July 13, 2014

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (audio)

★ 1/2
"If you stumble about believability, what are you living for?  Love is hard to believe, ask any lover.  Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist.  God is hard to believe, ask any believer.  What is your problem with hard to believe?"

Pi Patel is a young boy from India who is the son of zookeepers.  When him and his family and their animals travels to North America, their ships sinks.  Pi is the only human survivor - along with a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and a tiger named Richard Parker.  Within a few days, the tiger devours the other animals and he is left on a lifeboat with Pi.  They survive 227 days in the Pacific Ocean before finding land.  

When they reach Mexico, Richard Parker runs off to the jungle.  Pi is questioned by Japanese authorities about what happened to the ship and how he survived.  Pi tells his story - but it is deemed "unbelievable" and they ask for a story without animals. Pi tells another story, similar to his original, but instead of animals be used people - his mother, a sailor, and a cook.  Readers are left at the end of the novel wondering which story is true.

This was a very interesting novel.  I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I read it - and it was different from the type of books I normally read and a little hard to get through.  Overall, I enjoyed Pi's story and it's unique ending.  I assumed the entire novel would be about Pi and Richard Parker's survival on the lifeboat, but the author gave a lot more detail about Pi and his family's life before the journey.  There was a lot of interesting writing about the zoo and behavior of animal in captivity. Pi was also very involved in religion.  As a young boy, he practiced Christianity, Islam, and Hindu - all at the same time.  He claimed that he loved God and wanted to be a part of each religions.  This worked out well, until the leaders of each of the three religions and his parents found out and told him that he must choice only one.  I was really interested in this debate.  I am Christian, but have always enjoyed learning about other religions.  As I was learning about these many years ago, I always thought it would be kinda neat if people could practice whatever aspect of different religions they felt was right for them.  Religion is also a very unique concept and I found it intriguing that different groups of people believe so strongly in their different religions - and most believe that theirs and only theirs with the "right" religion.  Pi went against this commonality and wanted to practice all of the common religions around him.  As a boy, he did not think there was anything strange or different about this - until he was questioned by "older and wiser" adults.

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