There are always going to be some books that stay with you for the longest time. For me, I cannot help but think about Life of Pi by Yann Martel. The plot and the character make this one of the most intriguing novels and it doesn’t hurt that the movie was good too.
Life of Pi: Summary
Piscine Molitor Patel, or Pi as he has come to be known, is the child of a local zoo manager. Pi tells us what he has learned by watching the animals at the zoo. We also learn about Richard Parker, a 450-pound tiger that got his name by a clerical error and got the name fo its human captor.
Besides his life at the zoo, Pi also tells us about practicing multiple religions and is a vegetarian. He was raised as a Hindu, and at 14 started practicing Islam and Christianity. Instead of choosing just one, Pi decides to choose all three because he believes each one has its own benefit.
In 1976, Pi and his family decides to leave India and head to Canada to start a new life. And the zoo is coming with them. Pi’s family board a Japanese freighter ship that is transporting all of the animals. But a ship gets caught in a storm.
Pi escapes in a lifeboat but he has unwelcome guests. Also in the lifeboat are a bunch of the zoo animals including a zebra and at the tiger. Pi survive on a lifeboat with a wild animal while also managing his rations. Will Pi survive or lose his sanity as he is stranded in the middle of the ocean with a captive tiger?
Even thought the story is fiction, it is still an unbelievable tale. What makes the book come to life is Pi and his approach to life. He decides to practice three religions which contradict each other. Yet Pi makes it work. His approach to life is unique and I’d say the real selling point of the novel.
Of course, Richard Parker is also a big reason why the book became so popular. A tiger on a lifeboat stranded in the middle of the ocean with a boy is the wildest story a kid could make up. But it works on so many levels. Great writing can make any plot work well and Martel does just that.