I read this in primary school when I was 11 or 12 and I remember LOVING it. I thought it was the best book ever and I deeply related with Abigal.
Upon Reading it now that I’m in high school and my life has changedgreatly, I don’t really like it as much. For starters, I’m a completely different person now and so I didn’t relate with Abigal moreso than I cringed at how I thought she was just like me because, at that time, I was going through my ‘I’m not like other girls’ phase.
Nevertheless, I appreciate the book for how much it meant to me when I was in grade 6 and the story itself isn’t actually that bad. Just kind of slow and clearly intended for younger readers.
This was the most well-written book I have ever read. The plot was gripping and diverse from all other books and was exactly the kind of book that I love to read.
I had watched the movie Life of Pi years prior to reading the book but I could barely remember anything besides the fact he was on a boat because it was a) ages ago and b) I was too young and probably fell asleep half way through. Because of this, reading this book was like a whole new experience.
The story begins with Piscine Patil who is interested in many religions all at once and whose father ran a zoo and mamji loved to swim. Upon beginning to read I was struck by how the beginning of the story seemingly had absolutely nothing to do with the eventual getting stranded on a boat with a tiger that I knew was to happen. I needn’t’ve dwelled on it long however as the contrast of the complexity of the story presented so simply captured me and lead me along its own path.
Slowly, but still not letting you guess how or when the whole boat situation would happen, the story progressed with Pi’s life and his struggles with religion and seamlessly ended up with his family on a ship and then him alone in a lifeboat.
From then on, as he is stranded at sea with his own jungle of animals the story follows a plot so unfamiliar and unrelatable to the common person yet compelling as animal nature, the works of the ocean and all sorts are read.
Besides just the incredible style of writing which I can only describe as ‘raw’ and ‘authentic,’ the book contained many shocking things which were so real to the story but almost traumatising to read that matched the style of writing perfectly. The things, which I will not describe for spoiler reasons, disgusted me and made me want to look away but prevented me from doing exactly that as the writing was just so good.
Throughout Pi’s journey on the lifeboat, you, as the reader, don’t feel as if you are Pi as it would be too hard to relate to his situation but as if you are looking through his eyes at the story being told while still being a separate entity which was the perfect viewpoint to capture the story’s essence and truly experience Pi’s struggle.
Because of your intimate viewpoint in the story, you truly experience Pi’s emotions and feel his loss and the passing of time as the innocent days of discovering religion, swimming and the zoo seem so distant and reading them feels so long ago.
It is clear that the author did a lot of research for this story with the extensive knowledge and information on the workings of animals’ hierarchy and just general facts which were worked into the story and brought with them a perfect harmony where they flowed and fit in with the writing. These additions also made the story much more interesting especially with Pi’s monologue on training Richard Parker (the tiger) to gain control and also provided excellent character development which reflected his life back in Pondicherry.
Both throughout the story and especially at the ending, Pi’s character and experiences were extremely well-written in the fact that he is certain everything he remembers happened while the interviewees did not believe him as it strikes the reader as a large amount of the things that happened in this book very well could be Pi’s imagination from a multitude of reasons such as hunger, loneliness or just plain insanity from being stuck on a boat so long. Despite this, as the reader, you experienced all of these things with Pi and so to you they absolutely happened and yet you still question yourself because of the reality of the existence of common sense or possibly because of the limits of the human mind to believe such things that surely should be fictitious.
That leads me to another thing with this book, I actually do not know if this book is fiction or not. I’m sure it is as I do not believe the events in the book could have possibly happened but with the way it was written and especially the authors note I question myself.
I do believe however that this is one of the best books ever written in any aspect and that there are an infinite amount more of things I could write about it but I must end now before it turns into rambling.
I think everyone should read this book once they are of a certain maturity (because of some of the graphic descriptions and also so it wouldn’t just go over their head) and that it would even be an excellent book to read in school because of all the possibilities for analysis.