Teresa Jusino's Reviews > Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
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's review
Aug 11, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: readandreviewed
Read in October, 2005

On the surface, it's the story of a 16 year old Indian boy named "Pi" who, when he and his zookeeping family decide to transplant themselves and some animals to Canada, ends up stranded on a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a 450-lb Bengal tiger named "Richard Parker."
Don't let the Rudyard Kipling-ness of the plot fool you! In reality, this book is an examination of faith in all its forms. Young Pi loves God, and to prove it he becomes Christian and Muslim in addition to his native Hinduism. He also loves animals, and much of the book examines animal psychology and its relationship to human psychology in a vibrant, interesting way.

This book had me asking questions about my life, my beliefs, and my society on just about every page....and when the reader gets to the end (which I won't spoil here), the reader is forced to ask themself the kind of person they really are. If ever there was a novel that could be called a litmus test, it's this one. "The Life of Pi" will, at the very least, entertain through its sharp storytelling, but it can also help a reader examine how they see the world - and isn't that the point of great literature?

Favorite quotes:

"I felt a kinship with him. It was my first clue that atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith, and every word they speak speaks of faith. LIke me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them - and then they leap."

"But I don't insist. I don't mean to defend zoos. Close them all down if you want (and let us hope that what wildlife remains can survive in what is left of the natural world). I know zoos are no longer in people's good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both."

"And so, when she first heard of Hare Krishnas, she didn't hear right. She heard 'hairless Christians', and that is what they were to her for many years. When I corrected her, I told her that in fact she was not so wrong; that Hindus, in their capacity for love, are indeed hairless Christians, just as Muslims, in the way they see God in everything, are bearded Hindus, and Christians, in their devotion to God, are hat-wearing Muslims."

"Christianity is a religion in a rush. Look at the world created in seven days. Even on a symbolic level, that's creation in a frenzy. To one born in a religion where the battle for a single soul can be a relay race run over many centuries, with innumerable generations passing along the baton, the quick resolution of Christianity has a dizzying effect. If Hinduism flows placidly like the Ganges, then Christianity bustles like Toronto at rush hour. It is a religion as swift as a swallow, as urgent as an ambulance. It turns on a dime, expresses itself in the instant. In a moment, you are lost or saved. Christianity stretches back through the ages, but in essence it exists only at one time: right now."
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03/14/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Fenixbird (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:44PM) (new) - added it

Fenixbird SandS Wow! Such a title I had to read down through a few reviews...till I saw yours, Teresa

I am so this boy!! Christian Buddhist in love with a Muslin Egyptian! LOL (At least he is half-French and willing to convert, which means--if I followed the advice of a friend of mine, we could now both become a "compromise" religion, like oh, say Greek Orthodox!

Hope you appreciate my sense of humor!
Teresa (alias Fenixbird SandS)

message 2: by Lisa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:05PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Nelson I really enjoyed your review. I liked the book for the same reasons you stated. Thanks for the great quotes, some of my favorites as well. I read this a couple of years ago and don't know where my copy ended up. I have thought about the themes and religious topics the book brought up many times since.

Cathryn Terrific review! I adored the book...I also have the audio copy for long trips so I can hear it again. Never tire of it and learn something new every time.

message 4: by Julie (last edited Mar 24, 2013 02:43AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julie Briggs Loved your review. A Moby Dick for this century it is.

Michael Barron I like your choice of quotes here.

Nisha S. Exactly what this book means to me. Great choice of quotes.

Miquel Reina Love your review Teresa!

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