I was extremely surprised by this book. Let me tell you why (it's a funny story):
On the Danish cover it says "Pi's Liv" (Pi's Life), but I hadn't noticed the apostrophe, so I thought it said "Pis Liv" (Piss Life) and I thought that was an interesting title at least, so perhaps I should give it a go. So I did. And... what I read was not at all what I had expected (I thought it was a book about a boy in the Indian slums or something). It actually wasn't until I looked up the book in English I realized the title wasn't "Piss Life". I was deceived for the longest time... and not only about this.
When I first read it I also thought it was based on a true story. I'm not sure why I thought that, I must have misread something (I vaguely recall thinking the prologue was instead an introduction). It was a sad (and humiliating) day when I discovered the truth lay elsewhere. I guess your romantic beliefs must die someday, and that was the day for me.
See, it's easier to believe in the world and be optimistic about it, when you also believe that world capable of containing a boy and a tiger co-existing on a lifeboat for 7 months and surviving.
The truth is this book probably changed my life, not in any grand, extraordinary way. But with the small things, the small observations. Like how he was afraid to run out of paper, to document his days in the lifeboat, and instead he ran out of ink. Like how he chose to embrace three religions, not just one.
This book, and Pi especially, represent and embody a way of life that I admire. It's not about believing in God, but about what it takes to believe in something, anything really. Yourself, the world, goodness, life, God.
If it seemed real enough for me to believe it had happened, perhaps the real world is indeed a place where it could happen. And that's what I want to believe, even if real life might tell me otherwise.