Perhaps I was tempting fate by reading “Life Of Pi” while on a cruise, but the idea of a young boy adrift of a life boat with a Bengal tiger seemed absolutely fascinating, and what better time to appreciate the theme than while surrounded by water. Quite simply, this is a novel I wish I had read sooner. I was stunned with how well written this was. The author provided enough background to make Pi an enjoyable character to follow. Pi’s family’s experience of running a zoo and their deep understanding of animals provides a believable basis for the remainder of the book. Forced to sell their zoo, the family embarks on a voyage with many of the animals they are selling. A series of strange events during the sinking of the ship results in Pi being in a lifeboat with a zebra, hyena, tiger and an ape.
Though it seemed natural that Pi would be dead almost instantly, his unique knowledge of animals provides him with the skills needed to survive. Much of the book took place in the lifeboat, but the story never lulled. From one chapter to the next, I was constantly surprised by how Martel kept the story interesting by allowing Pi to focus on different aspects of being adrift. Pi talks about the hunger he experiences, his thirst, the fear that the tiger will eat him. Then he describes how he trains the tiger to fear him so that Pi is the alpha male in charge of the lifeboat, not the tiger. Even the description of the items in the survival kit was oddly interesting. Pi’s outlook on life seemed to follow the cycles of despair one would naturally go through while alone on a lifeboat. The writing and intensity of the story kept me constantly entertained. Ultimately, the journey was amazing and the author managed to get me right into the boat with Pi. In the last few pages, the author presents the reader with a choice that will change everything contained in the previous pages, leaving the reader to decide what to believe.
If you are going on a cruise, take Pi along! Thanks to Chris for recommending this book me. I, in turn, highly recommend you read it also.