CK's Reviews > Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
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's review
Jul 10, 2007

it was ok
Read in December, 2006

I love books about animals. This has a lot to do with my great-aunt Alice. Aunt Alice used to be an elementary schoolteacher and librarian, and she often whispered to us that Dad was her favorite nephew. Every Christmas that I can remember, growing up, we’d be sent home with a box full of old or damaged books that the school library didn’t want anymore, all about animals: Black Beauty, King of the Wind, The Incredible Journey, Charlotte’s Web, Lad of Sunnybank, Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, Lassie Come Home, and Beautiful Joe, among others. In each one, animals are the heroes of the tale, and are much more noble and beautiful than humans. Us humans like to think this about animals. Too bad that what we’d like to think isn’t always true.

So, I really like how Yann Martel wrote about animals in this book — they are animals! — and I really like how he compared the way that animals behave with the way that humans behave, especially how we behave about religion. This is the best aspect of the book. The main character, an ardent practitioner of religion, is simultaneously Christian, Muslim and Hindu, but finds himself resorting to “animal behavior” in order to survive.

I enjoyed reading it. He’s a good writer. Not great, but very good. He has a nice sense of humor, he writes good dialogue (which is difficult), and it’s a very interesting story that will hold your attention until the end of the book. I like how he wrote himself into the story as a character (I get all giddy and weak-kneed when authors do that). I also really like the way it ended.


1) Overall, the story seemed a little choppy; the three sections didn’t flow very well into each other and instead felt like three different books. I understand the point — the book starts out on a more “human” note, rather philosophical and intellectual, and then progresses to the more raw depiction of survival, so the tone and subject matter changes accordingly — but it comes off feeling like a bad editing job. Also, like I said before, he's not a great writer. A better editor would have made him better.

2) It was really violent in places. I know that it had to be violent because animals are violent (kill or be killed!), but did it have to be that violent? There were one or two paragraphs that were so bad it made me nauseous. Great authors can do more with less.

I’d still recommend it to most of my friends (except for those of you who can’t handle blood and gore).
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Emma i'm sorry i have to just say a quick piece about your second critique of the book. i think it's incredibly unfair to the author to ask whether an element of the story "had" to be one way or the other. someone once put it to me this way: no one ever asks a composer whether they "Had" to use a b flat at a certain point in the composition. if they thought it should be there then it should be there, and i just don't think it's a legitimate criticism of a book to say it was too violent, or of a movie to say it had too many nude scenes, etc etc ad infinitum.
ok glad to get that off my chest, do let me know if you disagree.

message 2: by Sandy (last edited Jul 08, 2008 12:56PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandy Rush This story will stay with me till the day I die it was that good. Enough said.

Katiepotaties Sorry,Emma,But I agree with the criticism of the level of violence in this book.It put me off, and I read the rest with a heavy heart.
Not legitimate criticism to say a movie had 'too many nude scenes'? Are you joking? There are way too many fools who add extra doses of boobs and bums to fill in the holes a crappy script,pathetic storyline and bad acting create.
And for whatever reasons,this author did the same thing, with the violence and shock-value.
Hated this book.Period.

message 4: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Hart People who say "Period" are questionable, shall we say?

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