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Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Review by Caleyna 2004-03-14

Life of Pi by Yann Martel is a book that constantly surprised me.

Just purchasing the book was a major surprise. Iíd been hearing all sort of good things about it from random strangers, which usually means I wonít purchase a book. I tend to avoid fads just because Iím contrary.

But then I was in a book store and I happened to see it prominently displayed on the shelf. There was no pi symbol on the cover, like I expected. Instead, there was a boat with a tiger and boy curled up in the middle. I was confused. Wasnít this some sort of ďmathematics for the commonerĒ type of book?

Absolutely not.

I read the back blurb and instantly knew I had to buy this book even though it was not in the genre I usually read.

So what is Life of Pi? Itís one of the most imaginative, impossible, wonderful books Iíve read in a long, long time. And I read constantly.

Pi is a young Indian boy who lives at the zoo his father owns. He drives people crazy with his religious curiosity, but is a good boy in general, always helping out with the zoo animals.

For a while I was worried the book was just going to be about his religious philosophies, but the book quickly moves into the real action. Pi and his family decide to move their zoo to Canada via ocean liner. As the cover implies, there ship is lost and Pi and a few animals are the only survivors.

This is where the story becomes wonderful and impossible. How does a boy survive close quarters with wild predators? If you want to find out, youíll have to read the book.

I gobbled up this small paperback in a matter of hours. The writing was very engaging and real. Pi became my best friend for the few hours I was with him, a sign of superb character development.

The ambiguous ending is my only complaint about the whole book. I canít say much more, but if you read the book your self youíll know exactly what Iím talking about. I think the book could have stood on itís own without the final epilogue.

If you havenít already jumped on the Life of Pi bandwagon, Iíd highly recommend a brisk walk down to your local bookstore to pick up a copy.

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