Malbadeen's Reviews > Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
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Mar 23, 2008

it was ok
Recommended for: people that can't get enough of Carl Jung and his wack-a-noodle ideas
Read in August, 2007

Sift a pinch of psychology with a scant tablespoon of theology, add one part Island of the Blue Dolphin with two parts philosophy, mix with a pastry blender or the back of a fork until crumbly but not dry and there you have Pi and his lame-o, cheesed out, boat ride to enlightenment.
Actually I liked the beginning of this book- loved Pi's decleration and re-naming of himself, his adding religions like daisy's to a chain, and was really diggin on the family as a whole and then....then, then, then the tarpaulin.
I did learn some things though, I learned that:
a). cookies work wonders in assuaging heated arguments.
b). Tiger turds do NOT taste good, no mater how hungry you are and hold absolutely no nutritional value (actualy this might apply only to turds obtained from tigers that have been floating on rafts for several weeks/months? I think I'll apply it as a general rule).
I wanted to like this book more - I loved the cover and then there's that little golden seal that keeps going psst, psst, you don't get it - it's waaaay deep, you missed the whole point. But I think no, I got the point, like a 2 by 4 to the forehead I got the dang point!
What I lack in spelling, this author lacks in subtlty. I felt like the ending was a study guide/cliff notes pamphlet/wikepedia entry all in one.
I love Pi in the first 3rd, I understand the merits of Pi in the raft (just not my thing), but pi in the last bit - ugh, ugh,ugh! I'm chocking on the authors shoving of moral down my throat - help! help! I can't breath.......
2 stars for the beginning, negative 3 stars for the ending, add something (or subtract to make it equal a positive - ????) and there you have my 2 starred LIfe of Pi review.
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Reading Progress

03/12 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 93) (93 new)

message 1: by Jill (new)

Jill Though I've never read it, I hear that people either love love love it or hate hate hate it. I mean--I can't think of anything better than being stuck on a small boat with a tiger... It's like castaway. With a tiger.

Nancy I must respectfully disagree with both comparisons. Put me in lovelovelove it. It is neither Blue Dolphins nor Castaway.

I have an interpretation that few others do, but I won't ruin it for you.

But I think Martel is a genius. I also especially liked the short story collection, The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios.

message 3: by Jill (new)

Jill Don't get me wrong--I loved Castaway.

But it would have been better, with a tiger.

Gabe It's like nothing else. And it has a tiger...

I think I may be with Nancy on the interpretation, but I feel as though I could use to read it again before I commit.

As for why men liked it? Beats me, I'm a guy and I liked it, but I couldn't tell you what appealed to my manliness. Except the sort of philosophical 'coming of age' for a boy. Oh, and then there's that tiger, maybe that had something to do with it.

message 5: by Gabe (last edited Sep 15, 2008 05:35PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gabe Oh, and I could start a whole thread on this, so someone please tell me where to do it...

Reading ahead? Scanning? Reading chapter titles? (as multiple HP friends did after buying midnight copies and right before crashing [lame.:])

These are all practices which I avoid like the plague. I wish to have the story revealed to me one word at a time, in the order presented, and without knowing that there's a chapter called "The White Tomb" at the end. Eff that! No mid-read spoilers for me.

And as for people who skip to the last page? Well, I'll stop here, before I say bad words...

Malbadeen Gabe - consider this analogy: When I first started running I was so focused on the pavement in front of me I'd look up and realize I was at an intersection and would need to make a decision. Well....that's what I'm doing with this book - I'm just looking up for a second to see if I want to turn left or right or end the run all together. It truely was just a glance at words and I'm going to keep reading, if nothing else because I'm curious what the hype is all about.
p.s. I admit I have skipped to the last page of a book or two as well. They were so crappy, I knew I wasn't going to finish them so I figured, why not right?

Carolanne If you need a barfing partner...I am SO there!

message 8: by Chris (new)

Chris Marie, if I hadn't liked you already, this review would make me love you. I've never read this book but always had the vague sense I wouldn't like it and respectfully avoided all the various recomendations I recieved. Your review confirms all my prejudices, and might just allow me to add this book to my "Books I discuss as if I've read" shelf.

"Cheesed out boat-ride to enlightenment" might be a shelf of its own and describe a large number of books I hate . . .

Paul Bryant Ho ho, funniest review I read in a while, in one fell swoop you've sold me on the idea of this Goodreads website thing. I think I'll stay a while. I love to see people putting the boot into a bad book with such gusto.

message 10: by Rob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rob Hi Marie,

Great review! You got my vote.

Leslie You took my thoughts right out of my brain, Marie! I think it would have been a great book if the author had not chosen to spoon feed the reader the point of the story at the end. I was so dissapointed!

Sarah I like your review! It's well written and fun to read! I wish I could write reviews as well as you do!

message 13: by Pam (last edited Jul 15, 2009 06:29AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Pam Well, at least I'm glad I'm not alone in not liking it. What am I missing? I read Marie's review and still don't get it.

smetchie I loved this book. However, I admit that I just ignored the last part and created an ending in my head that went how I thought it should. I do that a lot.

Skalich Well the end is the most striking part of a book that is gripping reader from almost every page. The end ... Oh my God it sent goosebumps down my spine for a week after reading it :)

Victoria Completely agree with you. I couldn't have put it better myself! Just finished the book and kept thinking, what the hell am I missing? And then the ending happened and I felt like I wasted my time ploughing through the whole drawn out castaway story.

Annie Thank you!! I just finished the book and left with that same feeling. Like I missed something, but totally didn't. There just wasn't much there to get.

Nikita S I read this book my freshman year of high school and pretty much had the same impresssion as you, though I lack your eloquence. My teacher kept telling me that I did not like it because I didn't understand but in reality, there was much to be desired. Thanks for a great and hilarious review.

Franky Entertaining, funny review. I feel the same way about this book, like philosophy was being shoved down my throat. The whole ending with the questioning...uhh...gosh, I hated that part of the book. I felt like I was being duped the whole time. And what is up with the cookies at the end? Maybe he just had a sweet tooth. You're explanation works best, though.

message 20: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Fly If you haven't read it you should. You ma'am did miss the point. Just because you can't wrap you simple mind around his story doesn't mean it's bad. And everyone I have personally talk to only don't like it for the exact reason of they missed the point and only read at the surface. Maybe you should read it again and actually use your brain this time.

Malbadeen Usually I put forth an effort to make a light hearted comment back when someone disagrees with my opinion or, as you did here, pointedly insults me. I like to try and steer things back in the direction of realizing that this is a sight full of opinions and not actually a tool of high brow literary communications that some people like to make it out to be.

I don't want to sound like a bitch and it doesn't bother me one wit if people strongly disagree with my view so I frequently up the insult been given me and respond from that perspective. On another day I might tell you that my "simple mind" appreciates your suggestion to re-read the book again and perhaps even invite you to show me how to do this "using my brain" thing that you mentioned.

But I don't have it in me today. Today I'm just kind of bored of it - ? or - I don't know. I just don't care.

So Mary, sorry if you think my simple mind can't wrap itself around what you enjoyed and sorry that you've had to bump into so many other people that also don't get the point. And sorry that I subjected you to my opinion via this public forum. But I still don't like the book and I'm so okay with that, that I will never actually re-read it and I will likely forget all about this book and your distaste of me, until someone else brings it up again,

Rachel I enjoy checking out varying opinions on Goodreads; it's what makes for great discussion, though these should never become personal attacks. We are all entitled to our opinions & what we reap (or don't) from any given work. I just finished Life of Pi & am intrigued that dear friends either loved or didn't love it. For what it's worth, Life of Pi is often categorized (though labels are confining) as magic realism. I found your review interesting because the parts that smack of magic realism are those you enjoyed the least. A prime example of magic realism is Like Water For Chocolate. I enjoyed the novel & coerced my husband into watching the film. I don't know if you've read the book or seen the film, which attempts to follow the book religiously, but my husband couldn't stand the "stretched reality" and symbolism. I understood his frustration & can readily understand why others don't care for it in Life of Pi.

Janice It is an amazing book, that ending when he describes what really happened. After all those pages thinking "why don't they eat each other?" you come to realized that richard parker was his inner tiger, his inner animal, his instincts... It is one of my favourites books for sure

message 24: by Sarah (new)

Sarah This review actually made me want to read it to find out for myself... I laughed aloud at your clever opinion. Thank you!

message 25: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Hello, random person here. Your review—totally misguided. Your review sucked, simply. It's horrible. There is nothing in Life of Pi that should be negatively rated. You say you're drowning in morals. Well that's just because you can't swim! This book was great—in no way boring, too religious, or anything of the sort. Believe me, I'm trying to keep calm as I write this. The first part was informational, more of story-like account: the fun part of the story. Then you have the middle section—a boy is left alone with a bunch of animals, trying to survive out there in the middle of the ocean. It's quite emotional. He has a journey in a giant plant-island, lives with meerkats, meets another surviver, and does everything in his power to live with his usually malevolent partner, Richard Parker. In the last section, he talks with two others about what actually happened. It was amusing and entertaining! Not something you CRITICIZE or MOCK!!!!!! So, HOW DARE YOU TURN THIS STORY INTO SOMETHING YOU MAKE FUN OF!!!!! Clearly, you were bored of this book. If you don't like AWESOME BOOKS, DON'T READ THIS! Stick to whatever petty reads you like, and stay out of Life of Pi, which some readers actually call 'a good book.'

Malbadeen Dear "Random person" (otherwise known as Amy),

Please accept my apologies for DARING to CRITICIZE, MOCK, and MAKE FUN OF this AWESOME BOOK. Clearly I did not give the boys "journey in a giant plant-island" where he lives with meerkats the credit it deserves.

I hope the situation can be rectified by my sincerest agreement to never "READ THIS" book again. and to get back to my the "petty reads I like" ASAP.

Hope all is forgiven and best wishes for a happy New Year,

message 27: by Jason (last edited Dec 11, 2012 08:52AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason Boy you're causing all sorts of trouble on Goodreads. I just saw your The Art of Racing in the Rain review yesterday. Give it a break already and stop ruining people's FAVORITE BOOKS books with your CRITICISMS and your—omg—OPINIONS!

Because random people everywhere are crying, you see.

Caroline Niziol Yeah, this book sucked when I read it 7 years ago and I'm sure it still sucks. Great review!!

message 29: by Michelle (new)

Michelle If you didn't like this book you must not like tigers. Tiger hater!

message 30: by Aryn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Aryn Your review: It was exactly what I thought of the movie, I left feeling like I'd been hit by a 2 by 4. I actually enjoyed the book, strangely enough.

Also, why is it that people get their panties all twisted over social media book reviews?

message 31: by Jason (last edited Dec 11, 2012 08:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason Michelle wrote: "If you didn't like this book you must not like tigers. Tiger hater!"

I hate the new iTunes.

message 32: by Michelle (new)

Michelle iTunes hater! Animal hater!

Jason Aryn wrote: "Also, why is it that people get their panties all twisted over social media book reviews?"

1st World problems.

message 34: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Third world hater!

Sarah First of all, Marie, I miss the crap out of you. Seeing you once a year just isn't doing it for me.

Second, I don't understand this compulsion to berate a reviewer for not liking a book, no matter how much I might love that book. Different people like different things, and I don't know why it needs to be taken so personally. And sometimes, an open and respectful discourse about the book can lead to appreciating it in a new way (my review on Atonement is a perfect example - the book went from two stars to four). And while I might be sad that someone doesn't like something I loved, in no way do I think that makes the person stupid or amoral (unless the thing you don't like is musicals. Because then you're just a moron).

Third, If you didn't like this book you must not like tigers. Tiger hater! Michelle is my favorite.

Sarah Fourth, I haven't read this book or seen the movie yet so I don't know if I agree with you, but I'm liking your review just to spite Amy and Mary.

message 37: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (unless the thing you don't like is musicals. Because then you're just a moron)


Jason Musical hater!

Sarah Michelle gets a pass because she actually came to see me in the Worst Musical Ever.

message 40: by Michelle (new)

Michelle You were good! Sure, you were too young for your role, but you were still good!

Sarah Thanks... I wish you had seen Ragtime instead.

message 42: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Me too.

Jason Can we get back to how Malbadeen is ruining people's lives, please?

Sarah So sorry. Back to your torches and pitchforks.

Malbadeen Remember when it was 2008 and I read this book? Other things I probably hated in 2008 and couldn't care less about now:
-a dry sandwhich ordered for lunch.
-underwear that were too tight or too high waisted.
-another scratch on my car.
-a rude comment made by a sales assistant somewhere.
-seeing another starbucks pop up next to a good coffee shop.
-an idiotic thing my ex-husband said or did.
-not being able to find a matching sock for work.
-an irritating classmate.
-the weather.
-the temperature.
-the decore.
-the music.
-your mom.

message 46: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Malbadeen wrote: "Remember when it was 2008 and I read this book? Other things I probably hated in 2008 and couldn't care less about now:
-a dry sandwhich ordered for lunch.
-underwear that were too tight or too hig..."


That's the best "your mom" joke I've heard from you in a while.

message 47: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Amy wrote: "Believe me, I'm trying to keep calm as I write this. "

This made me laugh so hard I had a hacking cough fit.

(I have the flu.)

Sarah You guys, Amy's full name is Amy Awesome. So obviously, she must know what she's talking about. Because she's awesome.

Jason I bet she says 'Prowst'.

Sarah Probably. If she's single, I know a guy she might like.

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