Monday, July 28, 2008
Book Review: Life of Pi
Kristen L., currently a missionary in East Asia, spent some time in our Logos Literary Discussion Group at Lake Murray before she returned to the mission field. I e-mailed her a couple of months ago and asked her for book recommendations for our next year of Logos books, and Kristen's #1 recommendation was Life of Pi. So, we read Life of Pi this month and discussed it yesterday.
Jody really liked the book, and the rest of us found it interesting but not something we would like to read again. The first third of the book covered Pi's childhood, and I found that portion to be my favorite part of the book. I most appreciated Pi's hunger for God, although I'm not into the Hindu and Muslim faiths myself. I found the introductory third of the book absolutely compelling, much more so than the rest of the book. Despite the intensity of Pi's story, I found that the long captivity in the boat was slow going.
The ending was surprising and problematic for me. At first I totally denied the second "story" -- the alternate story with the people rather than the animals. But the more I think about it, the more I believe that short, stark story of horrible events. It was one thing when animals kill each other, and something entirely different when people are involved. I think now that the alternate story was the truth, and the first story, with Richard Parker and the orangutan, hyena, and zebra, was an elaborate coping mechanism for the horrific events that occurred during the 227 days from the sinking of the ship until Pi's arrival on the Mexican shore.
However, the book is not a favourite of mine, and I doubt I will read it again. I'm glad I read it simply because it was a subject out of the ordinary, but I'm looking forward much more to the Shakespeare reading next month.