Sarah's Reviews > Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
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's review
Jul 26, 2007

it was ok

I don't think Life of Pi deserves the low 2 star rating I gave it. But how could I help myself, after Martel got my hopes so high in the beginning, only to dash them against metaphorical rocks in a metaphorical sea? I don't think Pi went through such pain as I did when I realized to my dismay that the middle and the end of the book didn't come close to the engaging, complex beginning. I loved the incorporation of the religious theme into Pi's life at the beginning. The time in the zoo set the stage for what would follow. But once out to sea, the spiritual connections disappeared and instead I felt like I was reading a raw, literal account of a survivor's journey. Like Hemingway might have written, but not as well done. There were rare moments of connection and deeper understanding, but not enough to keep me afloat to the end. By the end of Pi's journey, I felt as devastated as he must have -I guess the author succeeded in making me feel empathetic? But I still felt hope that the end would pull through and make my suffering well worth it. Instead, I felt like the end was almost as bad as the middle. It brought back the metaphorical and spiritual feel to a certain degree, but not enough to redeem the book for me, and not in the direction I had hoped. If my expectations weren't so high, this book probably would have gotten a three, or if I could, a three and a half rating. But such is life, right Pi?
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Reading Progress

04/17 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Lydia I am about two thirds into this book and feeling the same disappointment as you right now. Started scanning through Goodreads reviews in the hope there were others who were enchanted by the beginning but appalled by the sea-part. I will finish it, but I feel somewhat betrayed.

Kristin I'm with you, Lydia and Sarah! In many ways, the beginning of the book was not really developed or explored further. I kept waiting for the animals to be represented as different religions, for example. I found myself flipping ahead during the numerous Richard Parker pages, waiting to see whether any initial material would resurface. It didn't, in my estimation.

Marie I did the same ... There were so many vivid images and witty lines ... I was on the shore with his mother wearing her native sari , wanting to buy up all the scents and mundane items .. Only to have.... Tried for a few chapters and was so disappointed . I kept waiting for if to be a dream

message 4: by Natalie (new) - added it

Natalie How funny, I'm only now up to the part where he sinks and have found the lead up tedious and preachy. I can't think of any off the top of my head but there were some eye roll moments at cheesy imagery. I'm pushing through, hoping it gets better... each to their own hey?

704Anna the whole point of the beginning is to build up his love of animals and moral vaulues, only to have him give all that up in days. it's about primitive instincts overpower5ing moral values.

Justine I agree, all of his metaphors and descriptions did not help me empathize with Pi. When he described the angry waves, he failed to really give me the experience of being scared and tossed about. I didn't feel Pi's fear when he first discovered the tiger or his suffering during the duration of the sea. And in the end, I don't think he really comes to any deep religious conclusions.

Elie I'm trying to decide if it's worth finishing. Maybe not.

message 8: by Toni (new)

Toni I am trying to decide if I want to read it. I enjoyed the movie. Very helpful reviews.

Josephine I am on chapter 17 and already I am wondering if its ever going to get to the point.
Is it a really deep book where you have to analyse everything?! I am kinda frustrated because all my friends were like: you have to read it.


message 10: by Rose (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rose I would agree with your statement of the novel being a detailed, rich, wonderful beginning that tapered into a more flat, "less interesting" middle, and a slightly more redeeming end. However, I read the novel with the intent of reading it as literature. The stuff people study. In which case, while you are correct in the first part, I happen to disagree with your opinion of the middle of the novel. It reflects the deterioration of the boy on the boat, as his life becomes less about the human aspects of pleasure and religion, and more about the more animalistic aspects of violence and survival. As for your point about how it loses the metaphorical aspects of the start, at one point Pi points out that being at sea feels like being at the center of a circle. Which is brilliant, when realizing that he named himself after the irrational number pi, used to calculate the measurements of circles. If he had continued to act as he had in India, it would have been incongruous with the situation he was faced with. I want to make it clear that You have the right to your own opinion about the novel, which I would guess you probably read intending to enjoy it at face value, but I also wanted to point out that perhaps there was a reason for why you didn't enjoy it that had to do with the style of the writing.

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