**spoiler alert** Pi Patel is an Indian teenager who survives a horrific ordeal at sea after the ship he is traveling on sinks. The story is a "story...more**spoiler alert** Pi Patel is an Indian teenager who survives a horrific ordeal at sea after the ship he is traveling on sinks. The story is a "story within a story within a story" - which was a bit confusing at the beginning (is it being reported as "fact" or is the whole thing fiction?). Like all of my "movie books" shelf - I read the book because the movie looked interesting, and I wanted to read the book first. Unfortunately, even seeing just a movie trailer is enough to taint your perceptions of the novel.
Throughout the novel there is a lot of symbolism about religion, animals / zoology and endurance in life-threatening events. The story is told by Pi, even the author interviews him much later in life - so we know at the beginning that Pi survives the ordeal and goes on to live in Canada and even raise a family- we just don't know the details. There were times in the first third of the book that I wasn't sure if / when the story was ever going to "take off" - a lot of background / build-up regarding three religions (Hinduism, Islam and Christianity) - plus a lot of about India and zoology.
The main part of the book follows the ordeal in the lifeboat - which Pi eventually shares with Richard Parker, a Bengal tiger. It was my favorite part of the book, and reads like a good adventure story - with lots of unbelievable events written in an exciting and very descriptive style. There are parts which may make many readers squeamish - a lot of grim situations and details about what one must do in a survival situation. Lots of symbols - what is the mysterious algae island? A metaphor for the Garden of Eden? What's with the meerkats - do they represent the multitude of religious "followers"?
Finally Pi and Richard Parker land in Mexico. Richard Parker disappears into the jungle, and Pi is nursed back to health in a Mexican hospital. Two men from the Japanese Ministry of Transport arrive in the hospital to interview Pi about the final events on the ship (a Japanese cargo ship). This third part of the book reveals an entirely different "story" regarding what may have actually happened in the lifeboat. There are many parallels between the two versions (zebra = sailor, hyena = cook, Orange Juice the orangutan = Pi's mother, Richard Parker = Pi). Ultimately the reader is left to decide which version of the story you'd like to believe. Overall, a very enjoyable and though-provoking book! (less)
I discovered this book series while searching for an alternative to "the Hunger Games". (I read it aloud to my 7 and 9 year olds). A great story that...more I discovered this book series while searching for an alternative to "the Hunger Games". (I read it aloud to my 7 and 9 year olds). A great story that drew all of us in. Got weirdly upset over the death of an insect. Great characters, imaginative details and descriptive settings. Two year old "Boots" adds just enough fun to balance out the scary parts (for younger readers).(less)
An interesting story of a Japanese "war bride" told by her faithful husband of 44 years, an Irish American New Yorker and U.S. Air Force veteran. The...moreAn interesting story of a Japanese "war bride" told by her faithful husband of 44 years, an Irish American New Yorker and U.S. Air Force veteran. The author doesn't claim to be a good writer, yet he comes through almost like listening to an uncle tell a story. A good read for anyone interested in Japan, interracial marriage, or listening to the point of view of an "early baby boomer" discuss work, life and the benefit of a college education. (less)