Friday, November 09, 2012

Book Report: THE LIFE OF PI by Vann Martel



THE LIFE OF PI was a very good book and very different.  Pi is the self-inflicted nickname of the protagionist.  Pi's real name was Piscine Molitar Patel.  His cruel school mates nicked name him "Pissing Patel" which he hated.  Even his brother called him that.  And their teacher slipped one day and called him the same.  He decided to go by "Pi" instead.  I won't tell you how he got his co-students in India to change their mind-set.  You will have to read the book or see the movie which is coming out in a week.

The book has won all kinds of awards.  So, I thought this would be a good bandwagon to jump on.

Pi's family owned a zoo in India and with his detailed long descriptions of animals habits was very interesting, educational and entertaining. 

As a younster in the local town he had a facinaiton with all the religions represented and drop by the different places of worship to talk to the leaders.  He talked to a Rabbi, Priest, Muslim leader, and Hindu.  He saw the good in all religions and wanted to be part of all them, which caused some confusion with the religious leaders and his parents.  I think the result of his diversified religious learnings came into play later in the book.

His father got a good offer to move to Canada and operate a zoo there.  They sold some of their animals to other zoos and  some they shipped to the zoo they were going to.  The animals were on the same cargo ship as they went on.

The ship sunk in the Pacific.  Pi and a few animals were the only survivors.  Pi had to learn how to catch fish and eat them raw and share them with his animals aboard.  One by one each animal was eliminated by fighting among them.  Finally the only two passengers of the life boat were a huge tiger and Pi.  They kept a healthy distance from each other but grew to know each other and respect each other, but still feared each other - it was healthier that way.

Or did he share the boat with a huge tiger and other animals?  Or was it a figment of his imagination?  I think this is where religion came back into the picture.  He was the sole survival of the ship, no question about that. But it was the other details about the animals and a carnivious island which caused eye-brows to rise as he told his story.

I thought it was a good book and hard to put down.

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