Vividly dull

‘Life of Pi’ – Yann Martel


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Life of Pi – Yann Martel

After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild blue Pacific. The only survivors are Pi, a 16-year-old boy, a spotted hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, a female orangutan and a 450-pound Royal Bengal Tiger. As the ‘crew’ begin to grow restless and assert their natural place in the food chain, Pi’s fear mounts and he must use his wit, knowledge and faith to survive against all odds.

After hearing so much about this book, both before and after the film release, I was pleased to have the opportunity of reading ‘Life of Pi’. But I have to say that after all of the hype and publicity, I was really disappointed and found this a very tedious book.

‘So why did you carry on reading it,then?’ I hear you ask. Simply out of curiosity. I knew that the ending had something to offer and wanted to get there from the very start. Plus, I was also hoping that the story might improve…. Sadly, I was mistaken.

”Life of Pi’ is about a boy who is stranded on a lifeboat after a ship taking him and his family (plus some of their zoo animals) from India to Canada, sinks in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The majority of the story details the boy’s survival on the boat and how he adapted to being stranded at sea for 227 days. He learns how to fish, save drinking water and tame a tiger.

Whilst I found this book tedious, it certainly is very vivid and colourful. From the beginning, the descriptions are very detailed and though it does create very colourful images in your head, I don’t think I fully appreciated what Martel was trying to achieve. Yes, I did feel sorry for Pi and his struggles, but just wished there was a bit more to the plot.

Now that I have ticked off ‘Life of Pi’ from books you should read in your lifetime, I can safely say I won’t be returning to it. This is a book that tries to teach you about human nature and whilst it isn’t a fable, I think this is why it didn’t quite appeal to me – the teachings just didn’t reach me the way Martel probably intended. If you have already seen the film then you know what to expect from this book. If not, certainly don’t approach this anticipating lots of action and drama.


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