br: life of pi

So this isn’t going to be an actual book review because I know I’m late to the party. The book was published more than a decade ago, and even the movie came out 3 years ago.

To be honest, Life of Pi was never something I was curious to read. I hadn’t heard of the book until the movie came out, and the trailer didn’t exactly get me too excited:

I remember thinking, “Why would I want to read or watch something that’s literally about a guy being on a boat the entire time? No thanks, I’ve already been through 127 Hours once.”

But it was always in my face. I remember attending a Key Club event where one guest announced he was celebrating his nephew’s success as a musical producer for the movie. When it won a Golden Globe, my university put it on our front page. Finally, when I saw it in the “Must Reads” section of the library, I figured I might as well give it a try.

Sidenote: I know it’s degrading to mention someone’s accomplishments in context of their significant other, but I still have to say: did you guys know that the author, Yann Martel, is married to Alice Kuipers?!

Alice Kuipers wrote one of my favourite YA books, Life on the Refrigerator Door. It details the life of a mother and daughter who are struggling to communicate with each other while dealing with their respective problems, all through notes on the refrigerator door. It’s definitely 5/5 stars; cannot recommend it more!

OK, so the fact that Martel’s married to a literary genius aside…

He’s such a trickster.

Up until the very end of the book I was convinced this was a true story (or at least based on one – when I got to the carnivorous island part my faith had to let in a little doubt). Who starts off with a fictional note from the author?! I can’t say I don’t feel a little lied to and cheated… throughout the entire novel I was taking so much pride in Ontario and how we ended up becoming the home of someone with such an interesting past. *shakes fist helplessly* At least the story was interesting…

Unlike a lot of people I know, I don’t read an entire book in one sitting – I usually like to ration it out between a few nights. A result of this is that I have a lot of wild thoughts/predictions I will rant to friends about. One such friend suggested (not sure if it was because they actually thought it was a good idea or because they just got tired of listening to me… probably the latter) I write those thoughts down so I could revisit them later and laugh about how wrong I was (or marvel at my genius predictive abilities I suppose). I… did not do that.

Who wants to rant to a piece of paper/word document when they can always find a real life person who will (albeit sometimes reluctantly… apologies to my poor roommates) listen? But I did try to recall some of thoughts I had and write them down. Here they are:

  • I don’t understand how Piscine can follow three different religions at the same time. While there are many similarities, there are obviously glaring differences, or else there wouldn’t be conflict between the different religions all the time. How does he decide which side of the conflicts to believe? Does he just pick and choose particular tenets among the religions? How does he pick and choose… just based on his own morality? But isn’t the point of religion that our personal morality is flawed so we need to follow a higher code? I really wish the novel was more specific about this.
  • How in the world did the animals manage to escape their cages? Did someone let them out? Why didn’t they alert all the humans before that?
  • I can’t believe he has a wife. I wonder if his wife is familiar with all the things he did while on the boat. Is he back to being a vegetarian now? Does she ever doubt his integrity since he broke his diet? Does she ever think, “man deep down this guy is a hypocrite; whenever life gets tough he’ll abandon his peaceful ways”? (Although I guess the theory behind vegetarianism is that there are no reasons for us to eat meat because we’ve advanced to the stage where it’s possible for humans to survive without meat… once it became impossible for Piscine, he had to revert back to human’s primitive ways. Hmm, OK. Resolved.)
  • How did he deduce that the plants were carnivorous?! Just from finding teeth? My inference would’ve been that this tree just happened to grow teeth that looked remarkably similar to human teeth… (Sign #256 that I wouldn’t last two seconds in disaster scenarios)
  • I’m surprised Richard Parker didn’t completely maul him for leaving an island where there’s food and water. Is it only because he’s the Beta in this situation or because he’s also yearning for companionship? If we’re being real about this, when Richard Parker started those mating calls I was thinking he might end up raping one of the meerkats… glad the book didn’t get that kind of dark.

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One thought on “br: life of pi

  1. My favourite part was near the end when he revealed the other side of the (possible) story, its almost comedic delivery in a script setting was really entertaining and mesmerizing to read. The story with animals came as a shock to me, and no matter which version you believe, I hope you liked it 🙂

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