Life of Pi Life of Pi question

Appropriate for 12-year-old?
Elaine Elaine Jun 09, 2012 06:06AM
Is Life of Pi appropriate and interesting for an entering 6th grader/12-year-old?

I think it would be fine for a 12-year-old. One of the best things about reading is to be able to re-read a book again and again, getting different meanings out of it every time. So, even if s/he doesn't understand or "get" all of it with this reading, it will still be a good introduction to a book. And who knows? It might become one of those books that s/he reads multiple times, getting a bit more out of it every time. Just because someone might not understand all of it doesn't mean s/he shouldn't read it. And if s/he finds it too confusing or doesn't like it, no harm done--they can try it later. Also, I generally think that people should read what they want to read, regardless of age--kids (and people) who love reading usually know enough to police themselves. That being said, I'm not telling you what to do with your child--just giving my opinion.

Well the ending is pretty disturbing, but my attitude towards books is let them read what they want, and come to you if they have questions. I was never restricted from reading anything when I was a child, and it did me no harm.

I read this around 13...the fact is, we tend to underestimate children...they actually have more insight then we give them credit for...

However, I think he/she would enjoy a fantasy fiction more..

That depends. Do you have a precocious 12 year old?

Personally I wouldn't class it as a Children book, just because it's easy reading English (from non-English speaker's point-of-view). There's so much interpretation needed in the story.

It is a appropriate for an intelligent, open minded 12 year old, although if I had read it when I was that age (I'm a bit older now!) I would have been quite disturbed and it would have made me quite sad. But nothing in there that is completely unsuitable.

Interesting for a twelve year old? I have four adult children and learned when they were younger to suggest what I found interesting and let them judge for themselves. I found the book very interesting.

Appropriate for a twelve year old? I have no idea what that means. You want disturbing - look on youtube, as your children can do everyday. I see no negatives whatever in twelve year olds wrapping themselves around a complex novel and trying to come to grips with it. I have yet to encounter a single example anywhere of someone at any age being harmed by reading.

Hey. I'm 12. I read it. I loved it. And it is an absolutely clean book. No profanity, sex, violence, none of that. Just beautiful prose.

I read it when I was twelve, should be fine. Today it's among my favourite books.

No, this book is not appropriate for a 12 year old. I had a hard time with some of the very graphic and gory parts as an adult.

I would not recommend it, but I wouldn't deny them access either. It is not the graphic gore that is disturbing about this book, but rather the very mature topic of making horrible choices when pushed to the very edge (or over the edge) of sanity. The boy has eaten his mother to survive and his mind has created this alternative story so he can live with himself. HE is the tiger, HE is the animal that eats to survive. I read this book and then read The Good German and found the comparisons are very real and PI helped me understand a little better how many Germans acted during WWII and could live with themselves after. I am not sure many 12 year-old kids are ready (or should be challenged) with these difficult concepts.

It really depends on the kid. For most 12 year olds I think it would be fine. Unless they are really sensitive about animals dying and all. I read it when I was eleven (I still am) and I loved it. I think some kids could read it younger, and like I said it really depends on the kid.

I think that it's appropriate for a 12 year old to read in terms of gore and graphic-ness- I was reading way worse at that age-, but whether or not they'll understand it is a different question. If I had read this book four years ago (I'm sixteen), I wouldn't have understood a lot of it. I would have them wait until they're in their mid to late teens before they read this book in order for them to understand it better.

I would have been uncomfortable with some of the descriptions at age 12. Back in 1972. However, 12 year olds these days are not as sensitive as some of us were back then. It might actually bore them.

deleted member (last edited Sep 25, 2015 03:23PM ) Sep 25, 2015 03:16PM   0 votes
I'm 63. Nearly. My only concern about the books I read as a child, from Nabokov to Steinbeck, from Sartre to the Bible, is that I wish I'd written them all down, I wish I'd known enough to realize that life experience would turn them into entirely different books to me. All readers edit as they go, make assumptions as they go, take in what they are able to take in. Good Lord, I read Couples when I was 16, Nausea when I was 13. However, I spend half my life now re-reading, which is not a bad thing, not bad at all. But there are so many places I've forgotten that I know with certainty would enrich my life if I could recall them all and revisit them. Read whatever you want at whatever age, but keep a reading journal. That's all I have to say about that.

I couldn't even finish this book, so I'm going to say no. I know I'm probably in the minority - but just wanted to (ok, had to) offer my 2c.

Yes. Absolutely.

Depends on the 12 year old. I would have loved it at that age. I agree with Cave if a kid really can't handle it they have some tough stuff ahead.

I read this book as an adult and didn't like it. If a twelve year old wants to read it, fine. But don't make anybody read this book.

Cassie (last edited Jul 05, 2012 03:06PM ) Jul 05, 2012 03:05PM   0 votes
What you allow your child to read is up to you and if you have concerns I suggest you read it yourself before giving it to your child. But I would caution you that if your 12 year old has a vivid imagination it may be best to wait till he gets older. There is a lot of graphic gore (and with my vivid imagination it nearly turned my stomach) as well as some more sublte eeriness dealing with the island. Cannabalism gets a moment in the spotlight in the end of the book. Also, the different questions dealing with God may make his head spin more than he is prepared for.

Briana (last edited Jul 05, 2012 04:32PM ) Jul 05, 2012 04:29PM   0 votes
Elaine wrote: "Is Life of Pi appropriate and interesting for an entering 6th grader/12-year-old?"

I read it when I was 12 years old. I was a little bored, but had the mental capacity to realize what was so remarkable about it after reflection. My exact review was "It was OK until the end."
Urrgg....those were the days before I spelled "okay" properly.
I was not disturbed by the gore or anything. I do not recall it being particularly gory, actually.
Anyway, it was appropriate for me, though I was in eighth grade and an avid reader.

he can read, but will be difficult to understand the depth of the concept.

I loved The Life of Pi, but I would call it an adult book; not because of any gory descriptions, but because I don't think a child would understand the ending. It may appear to be an adventure story at times, but it's definitely not. There are lots of great children's books in print so it seems a pity not to save a great adult book for an age when it can be understood.

I would say so, to me it seemed like the typical child's adventure novel. It really depends on the 12 year old. I think it would make a good present for most children who like reading.

Well, we read it in 7th grade... It's not THAT bad. It just talks about how a boy has to use all his instincts to survive in the wild. I don't think anything will give you scary nightmares or anything, though. He skins turtles and stuff, but the theme of the story is interesting, and it's not super graphic. I think you should be fine. :)

Ahead of the movie release this coming December, I'm currently reading the book with my daughter who is 10. I've already read it myself twice. She is totally into it with a depth of anticipation and curiosity unique to that age. I think that if a 12-year-old cannot handle Life of Pi emotionally, he or she is up for a rough ride ahead. Intellectually they may need some guidance, but they may as easily be the ones to provide it.

There are quite a few violent scenes involving death of animals (and potentially a human, I can't remember). The theme of the book is appropriate- it is a story a boy shipwrecked and how he survived. It is a captivating story. It really depends on how well the person in question can handle gore. Overall, it is a great story.

Yes it is. I read it when I was about 14 and it fine. Telling a person they can't read it because it is to violent or graphic is not a good enough reason. "Treasure Island" was a violent book yet you dont see people stopping kids from reading it.

Considering that the ending features a scene where people are brutally murdered, skinned, chopped up and eaten (by another person) , no, I would not consider this book appropriate for a twelve year old.

deleted member Jul 15, 2013 12:05PM   0 votes
Depends. I read it while in High School and there were many times when I felt like throwing up. The movie is better, probably.

I mean, there is animal-killing (not too bad if you've read Huck Finn), and hints of cannibalism. Not what I expected, even though I learned a lot from reading it. I liked it, but I was glad to finish.

deleted member Jun 24, 2012 11:09AM   0 votes
I feel like this gore in this book is really minimal compared to what is readily available to a 12 year old through tv and movies. This book is extremely interesting and eye opening in terms of the horrors of life.

I think you have to know your 12 year old. But I can recall, Lord of the Flies, being mandatory reading in the 8th grade... and that wasn't exactly a gentle plot. While, The Hunger Games, is a novel about teenagers from 12 up forced to kill eachother for survival, and it seems to be most popular at the moment among that very age group. But the truth surrounding any type of survival story, fact or fiction, usually isn't. It brings out the worst and best in hummanity.

I read it secretly when i was 12/11. It was my sister's birthday present. Anyway, i did not understand the ending. It is not so much about the gore but the maturity.. i could only truly understand the book about 4 years later.


No, it's not that it is too scary - a lot of the scary stuff is only implied, but there is not enough real "adventure" to interest him/her and the shocking deeper meaning will be lost on him/her.

I read it when I was that age. I honestly don't remember what the gore and graphic imagery you all are talking about is? I mean, I remember there were animals who died, but the biggest impression it made on me was in a philosophical sense. To me, the aspects of the novel exploring God, life, and death made much more of an impact than anything that would have affected my poor little preteen mind.

Seriously? Have you read the book yourself? There are worse gory scenes than the killing of animals. I found the ending disturbing and I'm an adult. It's up to you and your child, but definitely read it through the end before you make your decision.

Why are people saying the ending was disturbing? In what way?

Eric Bruen I think I remember in the end when the truth's revealed we learn that a young sailor had his leg amputated and used as bait, and Pi's mother was decap ...more
Oct 02, 2012 06:56AM · flag
Eric Bruen oops, I should have specified 12 year old kids
Oct 02, 2012 06:58AM · flag


Ni Oct 02, 2012 06:26AM   -1 votes

I think it's appropriate for a 12 y.o. Probably not any younger than that though. You cannot protect them from disturbing endings forever. If your child has any questions, make sure they are comfortable asking them.

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