Life of Pi Book Review

Which story do you believe?

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I don’t really know what to say about this book. It’s about an Indian boy named Pi whose father owns a zoo. The animals are being moved on a ship, along with Pi and his family. The ship sinks and the only people that escape are Pi, a tiger, a hyena and an orangutang. The party soon shrinks to be just Pi and the tiger and an adventure.

He and the tiger sail across the world. Pi struggles to stay alive and the story is basically how he manages to do it and what he encounters along the way.

It was slow  in the beginning in a way that was still interesting, but I was just to impatient to really enjoy that part; I wanted to read about Pi in a lifeboat with a tiger. That part was just so, so interesting.  It was such enjoyable reading, from Pi’s sporadic descriptions of how beautiful everythingwas, to his perfectly conveyed hopelessness. The story is so fascinating because it seems so impossible. And yet at the same time, I believed entirely that this could happen. That Pi’s story might be real– just unknown.

For the rest of this reivew, I’d just like to dicuss what I thought about the ending. Becuase it’s worthy talking about.

As Pi is confronted by some interviewers he changes his story drastically in a way I don’t like at all. I won’t say what happens– that’d give away the end– but  I much prefer the story with the animals. I want that one to be real. I don’t want Pi to be scary. Yet at the same time, it makes sense, the story without animals does. Pi as a tiger, fierce and animal, able to survive because he sheds his humanity makes sense. He said in the story that it was Richard Parker (the tiger) that kept him alive, Richard Parker being the spiritual tiger within him. Still…

Online, someone made a good point: that when Pi went to tell his family that something was wrong with the ship, the stairs were flooded with water. Meaning that Pi’s mother couldn’t have survived.

Perhaps, to some extent both stories are true. It makes sense to me that the cook was the blind man he met on the water, and that he might have indeed killed the man and the woman, being Pi’s mother and the Chinese sailor. And maybe Pi was the tiger all along, and he was the one who killed the man, his temporary blindness being a way of blocking out what he did.  And when he landed on the beach, Richard Parker disappeared, meaning he became human again. Maybe.

Gah. Now, I’m not making any sense.

Either way, not matter what you believe, this was an excellent story, brilliantly told and wonderful to read. And regardless of which story is true, this book is a great read.

Ri’s Rating:



0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

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  1. A book made you believe in god? O.o

    • Ri

       /  August 28, 2009

      it said that it would. it said “here is a story that will make you believe in god and the power of human spirit”. and it did. kinda. it was powerful in a simple sort of way. it displayed the instict to survive and how strong the human spirit is. god-believing stuff, mon frere.

  2. Whatever mon frere (though we are neither brothers, nor men)


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