Publication: August 29, 2006, by Seal Books
Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, a Tamil boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
Time for a letter to one of the books that changed my life forever, guys! I only tend to write "letters" to books that have affected me as a person and as a whole. Yann Martel's Life of Pi is one of those books. I can see why the world went crazy.
Dear My One and Only Special Book,
I expected much worse from you. When I began reading Young Adult Fiction, I was introduced to you and your movie (which was fabulous as well), but I had doubts. A book about a boy and a tiger, both stranded on a float-boat-thing in the middle of the Pacific where there are fantasy aspects? That didn't seem like quite my cup of tea. And then, tenth grade rolled around and my friends, who had English first semester, couldn't stop raving about you. I began to anticipate your arrival into my heart more and more. (That also couldn't sound even more cheesier). They kept telling me about how there is a big shocker at the end of you and how our teacher explained it amazingly. I COULDN'T WAIT.
I read you almost in a night, in a sitting. I finished you before the rest of my class did, and I couldn't stop squealing with my best friend about the ending and everything. I would like to share your plot with the rest of Goodreads and the blogging community, if you don't mind.
"Richard Parker has stayed with me. I've never forgotten him. Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares mostly, but nightmares tinged with love. Such is the strangeness of the human heart. I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. That pain is like an axe that chops at my heart."
People. Life of Pi is just absolutely beautiful, remarkable and it changed my life. It carries such a powerful message of hope and realism, stuck in a story that focuses on animals and how we humans act like them constantly. We've seen this animalistic comparison in other classics (because I would certainly call this gorgeous thing a classic, but not in an old, rusty kind of way) like William Golding's Lord of the Flies, but this was just completely different and intriguing. Honestly, I prefer books that present a specific concept in a more modern setting that is relatable for me. I rather have an instant connection with a character than a wicked setting. Pi Patel is our amazing hero, who definitely represents the characteristics of a hero well. He is living a normal-ish life, living in Pondicherry, India, where his father owns the Pondicherry Zoo. Pi has always had this connection with animals, and he is immediately torn apart when his father announces that their family is moving to Canada.
This is where the craziness occurs. The family heads onto a ship, which sinks, and Pi is the sole survivor. He spends days at sea, with three animals: a monkey, a hyena, and Richard Parker, a tiger who Pi has an amazing relationship with as the book progresses. Agh, how I wish I could endure the same feelings as I did while reading.
I did not read this book because I was required to at school. I know many people personally who actually did not even finish this book because we discussed it (at little too much) at school. YOU'RE NUTS. If you are thinking of putting this one aside and not reading it, then I'm not talking to you, my friend.
Life of Pi is mesmerizing, I honestly felt like it was a dream after I finished it. What's amazing is that we have one sole protagonist, and we never get tired of him. Yann Martel also plays with the format of the book he's writing, occasionally telling the story from his own author perspective, and moving on to Pi's perspective. It's like a diary, though there is also more to it. Martel also experiments with splitting the book into three parts, one being a retelling of Pi's past and future, while the other two being the "Better Story" and the other as "Dry Yeastless Factuality." You will understand that better while reading the book. One story is more imaginative than the other, though the ending of this story seriously gives readers a good finish, a satisfying finish where we will not be asking any more questions. Everything will be answered for us, and somehow, we will be believing in God more than ever. Or at least, I found myself in that position.
"Life will defend itself no matter how small it is. Every animal is ferocious and dangerous. It may not kill you, but it will certainly injure you. It will scratch you and bite you, and you can look forward to a swollen, pus-filled infection, a high fever and a ten-day stay in the hospital."
Yann Martel's use of imagery in inexplainable. It's impossible for me to describe how he does it. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph, we find ourselves seeing that there is a background story to it all, and that Martel utilizes specific words for specific reasons, to show something. My English teacher occasionally over-analyzed things which got me a little frustrated (specifically sentences that reference colours and whatnot) but I must admit that this is the book that has the most depth in it.
YOU HAVE TO WATCH THE MOVIE TOO. A big applause to the directors, producers, screenwriters, media workers and actors for doing a stellar job on making this gorgeous story come to life. I honestly didn't have any complaints, except for the obvious taking-away of specific details from the plot. You cannot even guess how the imagery looks in the movie. It's exactly how I pictured it, funny when looking at the fact that most films that are based on films are horrible. (*cough* Divergent *cough*)
I adore you, Life of Pi. I have so many friends that adore you too, and I WOULD LIKE TO RECOMMEND YOU TO THE WHOLE WORLD. Everyone, grab a copy of this and the movie, and spend a few days (or binge it all into one) and enjoy. Thank you, Yann Martel and the publisher.