Lynn's Reviews > Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
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's review
Oct 26, 2011

it was ok
Read on November 30, 2011

I'm giving this book two stars because I tend to take the GoodReads rating system literally. "It was ok" really does sum it up for me. It's not that it was terrible, and I can see how people could find this story quite good, but it just was not enjoyable at all to me. I had to struggle to finish it. I found the prose to be tedious, I just didn't much care for the writer's style. And I felt the book really suffered from a slow took way too long to get to Pi's voyage, which is ultimately what the book was about.

The story details the fate of a teenage Indian boy who survives a disastrous shipwreck and the ensuing days that follow until he reaches land. We are told nearly at the beginning that he will reach shore, so this is not a big mystery to the reader. His family are zookeepers by trade and we are told that his lifeboat contains several of his zoo's residents as well. Then, towards the end, the book shifts from a survival tale to a psychological thriller of sorts and we are told a completely different set of events occurred. Both stories are gruesome, heartwrenching, and full of distress and suffering, though the second can boast of outright horror and brutality as well.

So that said, this is not a fun a book to read. So much time in the beginning of the book is focused on Pi's faith and his adoption of not one, but a few different religions. And while his faith is mentioned briefly later on, it seems like it's an afterthought. I would have expected his faith to play a bigger role and have more significance in light of the events he suffers through.

The book is peppered throughout with a side story involving a reporter/writer coming to visit the adult Pi years later. As the shipwreck story picks up, there is less and less interruption. I really don't feel this angle added anything to the story. It appears to just be a way for the author to tell us about what happened to Pi later without writing an epilogue. But the details it gives us are so mundane and shallow that it really doesn't shed much life on anything. We know that he survived and was intact enough to have a family, but we have no idea what demons, if any, remain.

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Gail (new)

Gail As good as this is, DO NOT waste your time on his second book. I finished it and seriously threw it across the room. Hated it so...

Lynn I have seen a lot of bad reviews for the second book - so consider me warned! Honestly, I am really not liking Life of Pi at all. Something about the writing just irritates me, it just doesn't seem to flow nicely....I think some of it sounds pretty when read aloud, but otherwise it reads terribly to me. And a lot of this book is just plain gross and depressing. I think the author just got really lucky with one bestseller.

message 3: by Gail (new)

Gail I read it so long ago (when it came out) and remember liking it at the time (enough, that is), so going into his second, I had relatively high expectations. I was just disgusted with the author by the end of it.

Lynn Can you recommend something that's lighthearted to read next? I feel like I'm stuck in a string of really depressing books.

message 5: by Gail (new)

Gail Tina Fey or Mindy Kaling's books are funny and light...but my favorite go-to for that (even when he writes about saddish topics) is this guy and, in particular, this book:

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