Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi is a book I've been meaning to read for a couple of years now but after admiring the movie trailer, I bumped it up to the top of my reading pile(s) as I personally like to read a novel before heading off to watching it on the big screen...and I am so glad I did.

We meet Pi as a young boy growing up in India, where he lived inside the zoo his father works in. His two passions are animals and religion, the latter being no religion in particular but the places of worship and figures of faith who reside there. After years of living within the zoo, his parents decide to emigrate to Canada for a better quality of life. The zoo animals are sold to various other collections across the world, placed into crates and along with his parents and brother, Pi boards the boat that promises to whisk them away to a new life. But one night he awakes and hears a strange noise, leaving the rest of his family in their beds, he heads up to the deck to investigate. Soon he realises something is wrong, the boat is listing to one side and when he tries to return to his family he's shocked to see his path is blocked by fast rising water. Before he knows it he's struggling to stay afloat in icy cold water but manages to pull himself aboard a life raft, along with a hyena, zebra, orangutan and a stowaway Bengal tiger.

Unaware of the tiger, Pi is more concerned with the unpredictable behaviour of the hyena and as he watches nature's food chain in action, he knows his time is coming. All he can do is use the skills he learnt at the zoo and attempt to survive on the rations aboard the boat but when it comes down to sharing such a small space with one of the animal kingdoms most powerful creature, does Pi really stand a chance?

I had been wanting to read Life of Pi for a while now but there were two worries I had about it that were putting me off. One was religion and the other being the potential anthropomorphising of animals. I was dreading this being a preachy book where either the tiger talks like a human all the way through or is meant to end up having emotion such as 'love' for Pi. For anyone else who has had these kind of concerns, I have four words for you: go buy it now!

Strangely enough, the religious aspects of the novel that had previously made me wary actually became one of my favourite parts of the novel. I should probably explain that I am not religious but believe that everyone has a right to worship as they wish as long as it brings no harm to anyone else. I did start reading this novel at the most devastating point of my life so far, as my father entered a hospice and lost his fight with cancer. After many afternoons spent in the hospice, I would return to my parents house and read this in bed and I can honestly say it's powerful, yet never overbearing slants on religion, belief, survival and the human spirit were a comforting light after some dark, dark days. One of the characters states that this story will make you believe in God, it didn't for me as my mind is too filled with science but it definitely moved me and left me thinking far more than any novel has done in a very long time.

I have read a number of reviews that have been disappointed that the sinking of the boat does not occur for quite a while into the novel. I personally enjoyed Pi's experiences in India (especially the zoo) just as much as the survival story that comes later. This is a literary novel, a Booker Prize winner, so don't expect it to fly into action in the first few pages. It sets a beautiful background which helps you understand Pi's mindset as he's faced with what he thinks is his own death.

As for the ending, I can hardly begin to describe it without completely ruining the twist, all I can say is that it really is superb. This book was a joy to me and although it will always inadvertently remind me of a terrible time in my life, I will always think of it fondly and it will forever hold a special little place in my heart. Would I feel differently about it if I read it at a different time? I can't honestly answer that, all I can say is that I am grateful I read it when I did.

To buy Life of Pi by Yann Martel from Amazon click here.

The Tattooed Book

My name is Cara and I am a book lover through and through! I'm a Press Officer at Titan Comics, I read, review, blog and am a published alt model. I also review for We Love This Book, Things and Ink and Starburst Magazine. Contact me if you would like a proof read and reviewed at or follow me on twitter at

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