Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Life of Pi" Book Review

ok, weird.  But not bad, really. At first I really didn't like it, but it grew on me.  I think it goes slowly in the beginning & I still fail to see exactly how relevant those details about Pi's life are that take place during the first third of the book.

Let me back up.

The "Life of Pi" is written by Yann Martel & is about a boy/teenager/man named Piscine who goes by Pi for short.  It is about his upbringing, but mostly it's about a shipwreck that leaves him stranded on a lifeboat with a Spotted Hyena, a Zebra, an Orangutan, & a Bengal Tiger.  It is one of those stranded stories about survival.   (Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe, The Open Boat by Stephen Crane, Cast Away, etc.) 

The use of animals is one of my favorite aspects in this book.   Which may be so obvious to most readers, but when I picked up the book to read it, I didn't know what it was about.  I don't really know why I picked it up, but I think I had heard of it before or something.  So, anyway, the use of animals was really intriging to me.  In the first part of the book, the author talks about "animalus anthropomorphicus" which basically means giving human attributes to animals.  Like, in your mind, you turn a grizzly bear into a fuzzy, huggable creature because you think bears act like humans.   But, really they are bears.  Dogs are dogs, but a lot of people think dogs have the same brain capacity as children.  They really don't.  So what is up with all these animals?  Tiger=alpha dawg. Hyene=crazy.  Zebra=sweet. Orangutan=brave.  Are these attributes of Pi's? 

It is also a coming of age story.  Pi, in a sense, morphs from a scared boy into a man who becomes dominant over the tiger.  That part I understand.  After this, however, they (Pi & the tiger...the only animal who survives in the lifeboat) end up on an island that "eats" anything warm blooded at night.  By eat, I mean fries them alive. Really strange stuff.  Over my head I assume. 

I don't really know.  It was very interesting, but I'm not sure what it's bigger purpose is (I only assume there is a bigger purpose than entertainment), or what the author is trying to say.  I probably wouldn't recommend it, but it was on the best seller's list (whose?  I'm not sure!) so maybe I am missing something.  Every once in awhile I try to venture out of my Young Adult world, but this time I was unsuccessful.  It is amazing to me that I have a degree in English & love books as much as I need oxygen, but still can read a book & be like "what the...?"

Anyway, this is my first book review so sorry it's not stellar.
I don't really know which books to review & which ones not to...but I think I'll stick to easier ones :)
Happy Reading!!

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