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Life of Pi by Yann Martel

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Life of Pi Review

Is survival at sea with a Bengal tiger possible? In the fictional novel, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, it is for a 16 year old boy named Pi. Somehow, Pi lives for seven months on just a lifeboat with various different wild animals from his fathers zoo, and the novel makes you feel like you are right there on the boat. Life of Pi was an intriguing novel that showed how religion can keep you hopeful, leaves the reader with the option for how they imagine the book should end, but also takes quite a while for the real plot to begin.

Surviving for seven months at sea sounds impossible unless you have something that keeps you hopeful. Even Pi feels this way while he is stranded on the lifeboat with Richard Parker, the Bengal tiger. He wakes up every day for a while with many doubts about living, but as the day went on, his three religions, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, are how Pi keeps his head up and helps him to believe that survival is actually possible. He realizes that maybe if he has a positive outlook on things, in the end everything will turn out alright. “The worst was over. I had survived the night. Today I would be rescued. To think that, to string those words together in my mind, was itself, a source of hope. Hope fed on hope” (Martel 119). At this point in the novel, the ship has just sunk, and Pi has come to the realization that he is stranded at sea with wild animals on nothing but a lifeboat. But each day, he wakes up and prays for rescue, and religion is how he keeps his head up. If Pi wasn’t a religious person, he probably would not have stayed alive and hopeful on the boat. By being stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger, there is next to no hope for survival, but Pi realizes what he must do in order to stay alive, and he takes action by training Richard Parker. The only reason he was able to even attempt to train a tiger was because of hope. Pi had a glimmer of hope, and he managed to make it through the horrendous situation he was put in.

Have you ever wanted to re-write the end of a book to what you wanted? In Life of Pi, you can. Pi tells two stories about what events occurred while he was out at sea, and the reader never knows what the real story is. It’s your choice to decide what you want the story to be. Pi says to the reporters interviewing him about his survival, “You can’t prove which story is true and which is not. You must take my word for it” (Martel 317). Whichever story told in the novel makes most sense to you, whichever story you would rather believe, you are given the choice to end the book the way you decide.

Though Life of Pi is an engaging story, the entertaining part does not begin until about a third of the way through the book. Pi goes on and on about his different religions, how different people mess up his name, and other things that aren’t exactly relevant to the plot. “I was named after a swimming pool. Quite peculiar considering my parents never took to water” (Martel 8). Even though this may be a semi-interesting point at the time, the rest of the book has nothing to do with how Pi got his name There is also a section of the first part of the book where he goes on for a number of pages about the nature of animals. It was interesting at the time to learn about different animal behaviors, but after some chapters, it is easy to become bored with descriptions of zoo animals. Religion is a main topic in Life of Pi, but after Pi is stranded out at sea, religion plays a small part in the plot. It may be his source of hope, but it is not mentioned more than a couple times during the second part of the novel.


For the most part, I enjoyed Life of Pi, but there were definitely some sections of the novel that were not very interesting to me. After Pi is lost at sea, the book becomes much more interesting. I really liked how the reader has the choice to decide how they want the book to end. Life of Pi was a compelling story of a boy lost at sea that showed how religion can keep you hopeful in tough situations, leaves the reader with the power to choose how they want the book to end, but it also takes some time for the interesting section to begin. Even with the downsides of the book, Life of Pi was still entertaining.




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