Sunday, February 5, 2006

Book Review: Life of Pi

I did it! I did it! I finished Life of Pi! This book was sloooooow going for the first 75 pages. I was so close to putting it down. For about a week I read 3 or 4 pages a night and thought "Why am I reading this book?" But there was something intriguing about it. Nevertheless, when my friend Leigh (who does not have a blog but who SPIES on me by reading my blog) confessed to me that, not only did she not finish the book but that she completely despised the 1/3 that she did read....I decided: I will give this book one more night. (I should say here that I dragged this opinion out of Leigh! I MADE her tell me what she thought of the book.)

But like I said, there was something intriguing about the character, a 14-year-old Indian (as in India) boy who, along with his family, is emigrating to Canada. What kept me reading the first third of the book (his life in India) was this interesting twist: he is a devout Hindu, a devout Catholic, and a devout Muslim. There is a funny scene when he is walking with his parents and looks up to see his three religious mentors coming toward them. Each greets the family and tells his parents what a devout son they have. "He is an excellent Muslim," says one. "He is a dedicated Hindu" says another. "He is a devout Christian," says the Catholic priest. The religious leaders all look in surprise at each other and begin fighting over Pi, as all assumed that Pi was dedicated to only their own religion.

So eventually Pi and his family and several large animals (his father was a zookeeper) are sailing to Canada and the boat sinks. Pi finds himself on a life boat with a nasty hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, an orangatan, and a Bengal tiger, Richard Parker. Several gruesome scenes result in only Pi and Richard Parker remaining. The rest of the book narrates their survival. As I said, the book took me a week to get into, but one I did--it was well worth it. It was a fascinating story.

So yesterday in my essay writing class, I used the name "Richard Parker" as a name for a character. It was the first name that came to my mind. One 13-year-old boy looked at it and said, "Richard Parker! He's the tiger from 'Life of Pi'!" Who knew? I realized then that, indeed, this would be suitable for my 12-year-old to read.