"Life of Pi"

Note: spoilers/details of the book's contents follow. You have been warned...

I finished this book last night. It was highly recommended to me by Andrew a while ago, who really, really liked the book. I picked up a copy but I was leery to read it because whenever someone I trust tells me that a band or a book is "unbelieveable" or "the best thing they've ever read", my expectations become way too high. I'd rather someone just tell me "hey, I read this book and it's pretty good." It's a recommendation but not one that carries soul-changing attributes. I was worried that Andrew's recommendation translated into some impossible-to-reach expectations, so I tried to just read the story without any hopes.

So what did I think of the book? Well, it is a good story. It hooked me pretty well as I got it finished in a day. But when a book tells that it will make the reader believe in God...frankly, warning lights come on. That feels too much like a bad ploy - "I gotta grab the reader by promising something outrageous, so, here goes..." And this book didn't do that. My beliefs and views haven't changed one bit. That doesn't mean the story wasn't interesting; far from it. It was a good story. It lost some steam at the end - the whole floating island just didn't make any sense, and when Pi gives two accounts of his trip at the end and leaves you to decide which one is true (it was an interesting touch at the end that the Japanese owners report that he was with a tiger on the trip), that felt too "ooooh, let's through in the radical twist at the end...was this all imagined? was this all allegorical?". Frankly, the ending damages the whole story. I would've been happy believing that the whole trip was with animals, and that he somehow made it alive with a tiger. It was audacious, but the story was told in a way that I could've believed it. Throwing in that ending just didn't feel right.

It's definitely a good story, and on that basis alone I'd recommend it. My personal opinion is, don't read the ending where he's questioned by the Japanese owners. It takes away some of the magic and wonder that the author spends virtually the entire book creating.

* Posted at 10.09.2005 08:18:38 AM CST | Link *

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