Jenny's Reviews > Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
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's review
Nov 30, 2007

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction

** spoiler alert ** Once, while riding the bus, I told a friend I hated this book. A guy I'd never met turned around to tell me that he was shocked and this was a beautiful book. I can sum up my hatred of this book by saying this: At the end of the book a character asks "Do you prefer the story with animals or without?" I can say with conviction I prefer the story without the animals--the stupid, boring, symbolic animals.
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Reading Progress

02/25 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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Mindi I liked it because I listened to it on CD, in the car, where I was too distracted to consider the stupid, boring, symbolic animals. I just listened to the story without giving it too much thought. I'm a bad driver. I can't intellectualize & manuever a car safely!

message 2: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Totally agree. It was awful.

Maitane Arana That pretty much sums up exactly how I felt when reading the book.

Angela It was awful. For the first time in my life, I threw a book into the trash when I was done. That's what I thought of it!

Harlem Erm... Spoilers?

Olivia Amen!

Kimberly You just gave away the ending...bummer

Steve Notice ,all the hates we're female , strange ?

Deborah Cummins I understand how you feel that way when you first get to the end, but after you thought about it and some time went by - did you change your mind at all?

message 10: by Jenny (new) - rated it 1 star

Jenny Maybe if I reread it? But as of now, I still prefer a straight story to a long symbolic one.

704Anna i loved life of pi. can't a book just be interesting without everybody reading all thses symbols and meanings into it, only to hate them?

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

But it was the author who brought in all the symbols and meanings. If it was just about the practicalities of surviving on a lifeboat with a tiger I would have love it!

message 13: by Madie (new) - rated it 1 star

Madie What? I love animals but I do completely agree that the book is AWFUL!!!!

message 14: by Neil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Neil *SPOILER ALERT* (I don't know how to hide comments, but as your review is hidden, I hope this is enough.) As an atheist, I am not trying to change your mind, however I feel the animals are central to the theme. "Which story do you like better," Pi asked, reminding the visiting Japanese men in Mexico, either choice bore little to no bearing on the causality of the ship sinking (the inevitability of our eventual death). They chose the story with the tiger. "And so it goes with God," he replied, suggesting that there is a parallel between god/a life with faith and religion, and a life centered in rationality and scientific fact. An ancient politician famously was quoted in the bible as saying, "Almost you have convinced me," when hearing the 'good news'. That is a good summation of my feelings towards this book, I feel Martel has spun the most beautiful tapestry promoting the idea of faith in the metaphysical in life, but it does nothing more for me than be, perhaps, the most intriguing advocate for the divine I've stumbled across.

I agree with you, and many of the comments regarding your review, that the flow and charm held early in the story is lost once Patel is lost at sea. There were some parts where it seemed Martel added something seemingly for no other reason than, 'well, I researched it, it doesn't fit here, but I might as well add it anyway'.

message 15: by Neil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Neil I'm a dolt, and wrote (am still writing) my comments from my iPad. It appears I pasted a few sentences (started with "I agree with....") from another comment on a different review, one that singles out the lack of quality in the latter portion of the book. I haven't found a way to dissect this part of my review.

The paragraph that was deleted in my unintended paste and switch stated that you might agree with the intro that appears in at least one (the most chronologically recent) of my two copies of J. R. R. Tolkien's "Fellowship of the Ring", where he states that most of the symbolism he was made aware of by readers and literary critics of his works were entirely perceived by the audience, and almost always never intended by the author himself. He further clearly states that he places little fanfare in literary symbolism, and finds it to be essentially the product of windbags (like me, the second "guy you don't even know", albeit the guy not riding the bus). I thought I should ensure that this corrected second paragraph find its way here, especially since you prefer straight forward stories, I couldn't be sure you might find these feelings of Tolkien yourself, as his fantasy works are much less straight forward than Martels symbolism.

Overall, I appreciate your comments, and the opposing, yet intellectually stimulating discourse they provide, which along with finding great new reads, is what makes Goodreads such a worthwhile source for me.

message 16: by Jenny (new) - rated it 1 star

Jenny Thanks for your great comments! Very interesting contributions.

When I read this for book club, we all joked about how when we read the statement "This book will make you believe in God" we were all like "Challenge accepted!" and I admit that I had unfair expectations about that line. And at the end seeing what he was trying to do about faith and symbolism just kind of reinforced my general life view that I want you to tell it to me straight without all of the fanfare. I am more comforted by the idea of something being straight forward (when you're dead, you're dead and that's it) than I am with any of the religious stories I'd grown up with.

So by the end I got what he was trying to do but it just made me think "like everything else in life, I want the story without the animals" - whether it's a talking snake in the Garden of Eden or a friendly tiger on a boat - I'd prefer you just tell me what you really want me to know.

message 17: by Von (new) - rated it 2 stars

Von I think its a clear divide of faith. Thoses that believe seem to be liking the book, those that dont believe in anything just see the book as a guy in a lifeboat with a hidden spiritual meaning to grasp.I asked all my book reading loved ones what they thought off the book, when i was half way through it....and they all said they did`nt waste time finishing it!....should have asked them for their review before wasting money buying a copy.


message 19: by Amin (new) - rated it 1 star

Amin Muhaimin I agree with you jenny. When he asked the reporter I thought the same. I prefer the 2nd version of the story. Not because of the 1st version doesn't make sense but because it's more dramatic. Please read my review and share our thoughts :)

Laura I adored this book and I am an atheist (leading on from some of the comments made above). I just read it for what it was - not your average 7-month life journey. I found it to be fascinating and beautifully written, and actually wasn't bored once. Maybe that's because I did an English degree and learned to be very patient with a number of different novels, but I honestly love this novel.

message 21: by Von (new) - rated it 2 stars

Von Very arrogant and assumptive laura!!!. Your not the only person who has studied .

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